Art of Francisco Goya

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

[ Francisco de Goya ] [ ] (1746–1828).

painting of a guy eating a human
“Saturn devouring his son”. The theme is based on the Greek mythology of Cronus, who cut his dad Uranus's penis off for the throne of the world, and in order to prevent a prophecy that his sons will overthrow him too, ate his sons. One of his son, Zeus, escaped this fate with the help of his mom Gaia, and overthrew Cronus.

Here's full excerpt from [ Cronus ] [ ] about this story.

In ancient myth recorded by Hesiod's Theogony, Cronus envied the power of his father, the ruler of the universe, Uranus. Uranus drew the enmity of Cronus' mother, Gaia, when he hid the gigantic youngest children of Gaia, the hundred-armed Hecatonchires and one-eyed Cyclopes, in Tartarus, so that they would not see the light. Gaia created a great stone sickle and gathered together Cronus and his brothers to persuade them to castrate Uranus. Only Cronus was willing to do the deed, so Gaia gave him the sickle and placed him in ambush. When Uranus met with Gaia, Cronus attacked him with the sickle castrating him and casting his testicles into the sea. From the blood (or, by a few accounts, semen) that spilled out from Uranus and fell upon the earth, the Gigantes, Erinyes, and Meliae were produced. The testicles produced a white foam from which Aphrodite emerged. For this, Uranus threatened vengeance and called his sons titenes (according to Hesiod meaning “straining ones,” the source of the word “titan”, but this etymology is disputed) for overstepping their boundaries and daring to commit such an act.

After dispatching Uranus, Cronus re-imprisoned the Hecatonchires, the Gigantes, and the Cyclopes and set the dragon Campe to guard them. He and his sister Rhea took the throne of the world as king and queen. The period in which Cronus ruled was called the Golden Age, as the people of the time had no need for laws or rules; everyone did the right thing, and immorality was absent.

Cronus learned from Gaia and Uranus that he was destined to be overcome by his own sons, just as he had overthrown his father. As a result, although he sired the gods Demeter, Hera, Hades, Hestia, and Poseidon by Rhea, he devoured them all as soon as they were born, to preempt the prophecy. When the sixth child, Zeus, was born Rhea sought Gaia to devise a plan to save them and to eventually get retribution on Cronus for his acts against his father and children. Other children Cronus is reputed to have fathered include Chiron, by Philyra.

The Nude Maja

nude reclining girl
La Maja Desnuda (The Nude Maja). (~1797) 1600×805

Here's some quotes from Wikipedia [ La Maja Desnuda ] [ ]:

[La Maja Desnuda] is said to be the first depiction of female pubic hair in Western art.

[ Spanish Inquisition ] [ ] summoned Goya to reveal who commissioned him to create the “obscene” La Maja Desnuda, and he was consequently stripped of his position as the Spanish court painter.

In 1930, two sets of stamps depicting La Maja Desnuda in commemoration of Goya's work were privately produced and later approved by the Spanish Postal Authority. That same year, the United States government barred and returned any mail bearing the stamps.

clothed Maja
La Maja Vestida (clothed Maja)

The erotic element in both versions are striking. In particular, her full breasts and hips, and the inviting body language and facial expression.