The painting I’ve chosen is Saturn devouring his son, by Goya. It was painted on the walls of Goya’s house (Deaf Man’s Villa) between 1819 and 1823. Now, it is showed in the El Prado Museum in Madrid and its dimensions are 143x81 cm. It was transferred to canvas after Goya's death and since then it has been exhibited in El Prado Museum. It is one of the 14 black paintings Goya painted.
On the painting we can see that Saturn is devouring his son, but in an extreme way, it seems that he wants to eat his son as soon as possible. He has just eaten his head and arms. We can see that Goya used dark colours, because as Saturn is killing his son, Goya wanted to represent darkness and the body of Saturn’s son is in warm colours because it represents the life Saturn is killing.
Goya represented a myth. It’s a Greek myth: Saturn’s brother said to Saturn (Cronus in Greek mythology, Saturn in Roman mythology): if you want to reign, you mustn’t have any male son. Saturn accepted. Then, he got married with Ops (Rea in Greek mythology) and he had some male children. Because of the treaty he signed with his brother, Saturn decided to eat them. Ops decided to hide her children Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto, only showing his daughter Juno. Titan (Saturn’s brother) discovered it and sent Saturn and his wife to prison. Goya used dark colours because of the evil situation when Saturn is eating his son.
This painting was painted in a depressive time for Goya. He was completely deaf and depressive because of the wars. This painting represents Saturn, also called Cronus in Greek. This represents, in the point of view of some experts, the fear Goya felt at the end of his life, and Saturn eating his son may represent how Saturn, by eating his son, wants to recover the youth.
He might have drawn inspiration to paint from this Rubens’ painting:
For me, Goya’s painting is more expressive than Rubens’, because Goya represents the terrifying situation better. Rubens’ painting represents a normal situation, as if eating his son was a normal thing. For me, Goya’s painting has more negative things, which are expressed very well.
Goya is a painter who anticipated Romanticism. Goya bought a house, called Quinta del Sordo (Deaf Man’s Villa) and there he painted 14 Black paintings. Some of their themes are myths, some others are about witchcraft…… Saturn devouring his son is one of the 14 Black Paintings Goya painted in Quinta del Sordo. The 14 Black paintings are showed nowadays in El Prado Museum in Madrid.
I liked this painting because I like zombies and things like that and, when I saw it for the first time, I thought it was a zombie eating one little child. I was shocked until Paqui explained the painting. I have to say that this painting is unusual, someone eating someone, and that’s also the reason I’ve chosen it.