Francisco de Goya and the Art of Critique probes the relationship between the enormous, extraordinary, and sometimes baffling body of Goya’s work and the interconnected issues of modernity, Enlightenment, and critique. Taking exception to conventional views that rely mainly on Goya’s darkest images to establish his relevance for modernity, Cascardi argues that the entirety of Goya’s work is engaged in a thoroughgoing critique of the modern social and historical worlds, of which it nonetheless remains an integral part. The book reckons with the apparent gulf assumed to divide the Disasters of War and the so-called Black Paintings from Goya’s scenes of bourgeois life or from the well-mannered portraits of aristocrats, military men, and intellectuals. It shows how these apparent contradictions offer us a gateway into Goya’s critical practice vis-à-vis a European modernity typically associated with the Enlightenment values dominant in France, England, and Germany. In demonstrating Goya’s commitment to the project of critique, Cascardi provides an alternative to established readings of Goya’s work, which generally acknowledge the explicit social criticism evident in works such as the Caprichos but which have little to say about those works that do not openly take up social or political themes. In Francisco de Goya and the Art of Critique, Cascardi shows how Goya was consistently engaged in a critical response to—and not just a representation of—the many different factors that are often invoked to explain his work, including history, politics, popular culture, religion, and the history of art itself.
[from publisher’s site]
Anthony J. Cascardi is the Sidney and Margaret Ancker Distinguished Professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of numerous books, including The Consequences of Enlightenment; Cervantes, Literature, and the Discourse of Politics; The Subject of Modernity; and The Cambridge Introduction to Literature and Philosophy.
Francisco de Goya and the Art of Critique. Brooklyn: Zone Books, 2023.
Widely acknowledged as a major turning point in the history of visual depictions of war, Francisco de Goya’s renowned print series The Disasters of War remains a touchstone for serious engagement with the violence of war and the questions raised by its artistic representation.
The Art of Witnessing: Francisco de Goya’s Disasters of War provides a new account of Goya’s print series by taking readers through the forty-seven prints he dedicated to the violence of war. Drawing on facets of Goya’s artistry rarely considered together before, the book challenges the notion that documentary realism and historical testimony were his primary aims. Michael Iarocci argues that while the depiction of war’s atrocities was central to Goya’s project, the lasting power of the print series stems from the artist’s complex moral and aesthetic meditations on the subject.
Making novel contributions to longstanding debates about historical memory, testimony, and the representation of violence, The Art of Witnessing tells a new story, print by print, to highlight the ways in which Goya’s masterpiece extends far beyond conventional understandings of visual testimony.
[from publisher’s site]
Michael Iarocci is professor of Modern Spanish Literature and Culture (18th-21st centuries) in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese and the Associate Dean of Arts and Humanities at UC Berkeley. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. Comparative and Transatlantic Hispanic Studies. Literature and geopolitics. Aesthetics and ideology. Visual culture. His previous books include Enrique Gil y la genalogía de la lírica moderna (Juan de la Cuesta, 1999), and Properties of Modernity: Romantic Spain, Modern Europe and the Legacies of Empire (Vanderbilt University Press, 2006).