A Fight at the Venta Nueva Francisco de Goya Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Here we find a violent argument that erupts outside a small bar, which Goya chooses to term as the New Tavern, or Venta Nueva. It was completed in 1777 and is one of many of his paintings to be found in the collection of the Museo del Prado in Madrid, Spain.

The artist focuses on an area of Madrid that at that time was full of unsavoury characters. There is activity right across the whole scene, suggesting perhaps a lack of decorum for those pictured in this painting. A Fight at the Venta Nueva was one of a series of ten designs that were to be transferred to tapestries and hung together within the same location. The theme that persists throughout them all is of life in the countryside, and Goya would complete them around the same time. The other works can also be found within the collection of the Museo del Prado, having initially been on display at the Royal Palace in the same city. This allows many more people to view these artworks than otherwise would have been the case.

The style of this piece feels distinctly different from the dark period of Goya's career and the influence found here is more in line with classical Italian art. He was an entirely varied artist across his career and this is sometimes forgotten by those who prefer to focus on only his most famous artworks. Goya would certainly have studied all manner of different styles during his early years and did not wish to tie himself down to a specific approach for more than a few years at a time. This also means that understanding the artist's career in depth is essential to recognising these qualities of versatility as most are entirely unaware of these alternative works that still remain technically impressive.

The scene found in A Fight at the Venta Nueva features a number of grappling groups, alongside an assortment of detail. A bare tree points up vertically to add balance to the composition, whilst the highly significant tavern is placed to the right hand side, with a decorative touch of architecture as well as the inclusion of several tradesmen trying to go about their daily lives in peace. These types of scenes can be found in the careers of other famous artists and perhaps the most obvious comparison can be drawn with the satirical prints of William Hogarth, who gifted us the likes of Beer Street and Gin Lane, which were sister pieces that compared the impact on society of different alcoholic beverages.

A Fight at the Venta Nueva in Detail Francisco de Goya