Francisco de Goya y Lucientes began his career as a painter in service to the Bourbon royal family and to a select cluster of noble families, including the Floridablanca, the Osuna, and especially the Alba. In his noon lecture on April 7 at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Christopher Johns, Norman L. and Roselea J. Goldberg Professor of History of Art, will trace the evolution of Goya’s career, with special emphasis on his portraits of the 13th Duchess of Alba.
Johns will begin with the context of the Spanish Enlightenment, which informed Goya’s earlier artistic development, and then discuss the horrors of the French occupation and resulting civil war, which Goya reflected in key works during his forties. The lecture also will pay special attention to Goya’s final isolation in the Quinta del Sordo—the house of the deaf man—where he indulged his darkest thoughts in a series of images unparalleled for their condemnation of the human condition.
The lecture is presented in conjunction with the current exhibit that is drawn from one of the oldest and most significant private collections in Europe. Treasures from the House of Alba: 500 Years of Art and Collecting features works by Goya, Murillo, Rubens, Titian, and more from the splendid palaces of the Alba dynasty in Spain. Co-organized by the Meadows Museum and the Casa de Alba Foundation, the exhibition brings together more than 130 works of art dating from antiquity to the twentieth century. This is the first major exhibition outside Spain of works from the collection of the House of Alba—a prominent Spanish noble family with ties to the monarchy since the fifteenth century.
Free and open to the public, the lecture will be held in the auditorium of the Frist Center located in downtown Nashville at 919 Broadway..
Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Spanish, 1746–1828). The Duchess of Alba in White, 1795. Oil on canvas, 75 5/8 x 51 3/16 in. Dukes of Alba Collection, Liria Palace, Madrid