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The Kite • Francisco de Goya • Oil on canvas, 269 x 285 cm • 1777 - 1778
Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado


Sponsored by: The Museo del Prado and the AXA Foundation present "Goya in Madrid".  This exhibition will propose a new approach to Goya's tapestry cartoons, the commission that brought the artist to the Royal Court and led him to settle definitively in Madrid. Goya devoted two decades of his career to this work between 1775 and 1794, a period in which he established his reputation as a Court and Academy painter. Unlike habitual presentations of this series of works, which tend to be organized strictly in relation to the realms for which they were created, this exhibition compares and contrasts the cartoons according to their themes, whilst also linking them to work by Goya's contemporaries (Mengs, Tiepolo, Bayeu, Maella, Paret and Meléndez) and to the past masters (Titian, Rubens, Teniers and Velasquez) that Goya would have been able to study in the Spanish Royal Collection and who served as models for his own creations. 

This thematic journey will be made up of 142 works, highlighting the fact that Goya's tapestry cartoons constitute one of his most important series when it comes to gaining an in-depth insight into the great master's work.

Madrid, 27th November 2014.- In Rooms A and B in the Jerónimos Building, the Museo del Prado and the AXA Foundation present "Goya in Madrid", an exhibition that seeks to review Goya's extraordinary series of tapestry cartoons, effectively illustrating the artist's connections with the past and the art scene of his day. At the same time, the exhibition will trace how the rich compositions, figures and expressions that appear in these paintings developed and evolved in the artist's subsequent creations, encompassing "cabinet" paintings, drawings and different series of prints. In this respect, the different sections of the exhibition will be based on a range of themes, scenes and compositions that have prevailed throughout the history of decorative painting, especially in Court ambiances, but which Goya interpreted in accordance with his own special vision of the world in a series of tapestry cartoons and oil-on-canvas paintings, the two formats used by the Royal Tapestry Factory to weave the tapestries based on these works.

The exhibition will present Goya's tapestry cartoons, together with works by the rest of the represented artists, in a manner that is radically different to the customary presentation in the Permanent Collection they belong to, where they are exhibited according to the chronological order of the corresponding series and the realms for which they were created. This extraordinary new exhibition will now revolve around eight thematic sections, effectively introducing the public to different technical aspects relating to these works and highlighting some of the lines of investigation that are likely to be pursued over the years to come. The exhibition will also establish Goya's tapestry cartoons as one of the artist's most important and decisive bodies of work when it comes to understanding his ideas and the way his artistic vision evolved.

The exhibition, which begins with a number of hunting themes, will show scenes from everyday life as it existed in his day, as well as reflecting the artist's interests through the realms of social class, the world of children, dance and music. These works also offer a critical view of the issues of his day, such as unequal marriage. All of these themes, compositions and perspectives will be compared with works by Goya's predecessors, such as Titian, Velasquez and Rubens, but also with paintings, sculptures and drawings by other artists who created works of art for the Royal  Household over the second half of the eighteenth century, such as Francisco and Ramón Bayeu, José del Castillo and Mariano Salvador Maella. This comparison will show how Goya's work was new and different when portraying the society and life of his day, based on his own view of reality and the models that have crystallized in the collective imagination as being quintessentially Spanish and, above all, typical of Madrid: local inhabitants such as "majos" and "majas", which in compositions such as La merienda ("The Picnic"), La riña en la venta nueva ("Brawl at the New Inn"), ("The Ironmonger"), La vendimia ("The Grape Harvest"), and La nevada ("The Snowfall") Goya endows with a universal character.

The first results of the research that is being carried out at the Museo del Prado regarding these works will be presented to the general public at this exhibition. Thus, Goya's cartoon entitled Cazador cargando su escopeta ("Hunter Loading His Gun") will be shown to the public for the first time. This painting has undergone a complex and comprehensive restoration process in order to separate it from another picture that was joined to it through its lining as of 1933. The two works made up a single scene that can be contemplated at the exhibition through a reproduction: the left-hand side corresponded to a cartoon created by Matías Téllez, Zorro cogido por un cepo ("Wolf Caught in a Trap"), whilst the right-hand side consisted of Goya's cartoon known as Cazador cargando su escopeta ("Hunter Loading His Gun"), a work attributed to Ramón Bayeu at the time. The X-ray and infrared reflectography exhibited clearly show the point where the two canvases were joined together and also enable us to make out the figure of the dog in Goya's cartoon that was cut out. The restoration process has enabled us to recover the composition created by the Aragonese master by placing the figure of the dog back in its original position.

Furthermore, following its recent restoration, the work entitled Vista de la ciudad de Zaragoza ("View of the City of Saragossa") by Juan Bautista Martínez del Mazo, will be presented at this exhibition in its original dimensions, given that the sections added (probably in the eighteenth century) have now been covered by a newly-created frame.  By means of a cleaning process this work has recovered its chromatic richness and variety, which has led, amongst other aspects, to a much clearer reading of its spatial effects.

Both restorations form part of the Museum's Restoration Programme, which enjoys the support of the Iberdrola Foundation as a "Protective Member" of the Museo del Prado.

The exhibition will also feature a number of multimedia devices developed in conjunction with Samsung in its capacity as the Museum's "Technological Collaborator". Amongst these, visitors will enjoy a carefully-chosen musical selection based on chronological and thematic criteria closely linked to the exhibition through an interactive multimedia application, replete with headphones and tablets.

The Exhibition
Goya came to Madrid in January 1775 in order to take part in the Project to Create Tapestry Cartoons for the Royal Residences, under the direction of Anton Raphael Mengs, the Chief Court Painter and Art Director at the Royal Tapestry Factory of Santa Bárbara. However, Goya's recognition at Court did not come until eleven years later, when he was appointed Painter to the King in 1786, and then named as Chief Court Painter in conjunction with Maella in 1799.

The artist received seven commissions for cartoons, in whose compositions he reflected all the diversity of the common people in a series of scenes packed with merriment and enlivened with amusements, games, children and festivities, but also with violence, deception and sadness, scenes in which desire and seduction serve as the backdrop for life. Goya managed to create an extensive range of sentiments due to his extraordinary capacity to capture the rich diversity of human nature and different types of male and female attire, not to mention his ability to suggest endless situations.

This exhibition brings together Goya's cartoons with those of other artists, whilst also exhibiting paintings and sculptures that served as models for his startlingly new and innovative creations. Goya did not conceive his tapestry cartoons as secondary paintings, but as a metaphoric invention of society, using them to feel his way towards subsequent creations that were to bring him fame, such as the etchings that make up the series known as the Caprichos or "Caprices".

What Does "Goya in Madrid" Sound Like?
At this exhibition visitors will be able to listen to a musical selection linked to the exhibition by means of various electronic devices located at various points throughout the show. Around the sculpture of Apollo, the god of music, harmony and beauty, visitors will be able to listen to what we might consider to be the soundtrack for "Goya in Madrid". With the aid of Samsung headphones and tablets, members of the public will be able to enjoy a carefully-selected classical music repertoire, featuring pieces expressly chosen according to thematic and chronological criteria linked to the exhibition. An interactive multimedia application will not only offer a selection of musical material, but also the images that the different pieces are linked to.  The musical curatorship for this application was carried out by Lo Otro, with Marta Espinós in charge of the musical selection and the texts.
The accompanying catalogue for the exhibition will consist of the following: a text by Janis Tomlinson, Retrato del artista en su juventud ("Portrait of the Artist in His Youth"); a text by Manuela Mena, "A lo lexos se ve Madrid". Goya y los cartones para tapices: servicio al rey y ensayo de ideas ("Madrid from the Distance: Goya and His Tapestry Cartoons - At the Service of the King and Laboratory of Ideas"); and a series of short texts for the different sections and sub-sections at the exhibition, with contributions from Manuela Mena, Gudrun Maurer, Virginia Albarrán, Gemma Cobo, Almudena Sánchez, Laura Alba and Jaime García Máiquez.

Entry to the Exhibition
The sole ticket price for the Museum is €14.00 (reduced or free, in accordance with the usual conditions established to this effect). This enables visitors to see the permanent collection, the exhibition "Goya in Madrid. Tapestry Cartoons 1775-1794" and any temporary exhibitions that may coincide with its exhibition calendar.

From Monday to Saturday from 6.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m., and on Sundays and Bank Holidays from 5.00 p.m. to 7.00 p.m., all visitors who wish to see the exhibition will enjoy a reduction in the price of the individual ticket that corresponds to them. Visitors who would normally pay the general rate will be able to purchase a reduced-price ticket of €7.00, whilst groups that have a reduced ticket price will enjoy a 50% reduction, which is to say, a price of €3.50  The exhibition can be visited from Monday to Saturday from 10.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m., and on Sundays and Bank Holidays from 10.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m.

Runs until May 2015
Jerónimos Building. Rooms A and B
Curators: Manuela Mena, Head Curator of the Goya and 18th Century Art Department, and Gudrun Maurer, Curator of the Goya and 18th Century Painting Department at the Museo del Prado

Editor's Note:  We are delighted to bring you the announcement of this extraordinary event with the compliments of  the Museo del Prado, Madrid 

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