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Saturn devouring his Son

  • 'Saturn devouring his Son' © Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado

    'Saturn devouring his Son' © Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado

     
  

Category

Painting

Date

1820 - 1823

Cultural background

Spanish School

Original title

Saturno devorando a un hijo
Prado Museum
Madrid
Madrid
Madrid

This is one of the most expressive images of Goya’s so-called “Black Paintings”, considered by many artists to mark the beginnings of modern art.

In this painting the god of mythology may be the personification of the fear of losing power. According to the myth, an oracle warned Saturn that he would be dethroned by one of his sons, and thus to avoid this he devoured them as soon as they were born.

These mural paintings which originally decorated Goya’s house, the “Quinta del Sordo”, have become popularly known as the “Black Paintings” due to the artist's use of dark and black pigments and the sombre subject matter. Baron Émile d'Erlanger ordered the paintings to be removed when he bought the Quinta in 1873, and they were ultimately donated to the nation. Although they continue to be enigmatic, they feature many of the aesthetic problems and moral concerns that often appear in works by Goya.
 

Details of the work

Origin
Donation by Baron Èmile d'Erlanger, 1881

Object
Painting

Dimensions
143.5 cm x 81.4 cm

Technique
Mixed technique

Material
Wall covering

  

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