Men Reading 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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Francisco Goya embraced the forthrightness of primal human emotion in the early 19th century by exploiting his esoteric sentiment on the disillusioned direction of Spain’s political stagnation. He used his expressionist talents to portray the notion in most of his works, with Men Reading topping the list.

Otherwise known as Politicians, the artwork that was done from 1820 to 1823 and now located in the Prado archives, Madrid city is Goya's sadistic way of narration from a realistic and disenchanted perspective. The piece is also a perfect expression of the curiosities and frailties of humanity, in both a renowned contemporary and conventional artistic capacity. When many painters of his time embraced the comforts of modernism and neo-classicism, Goya found his connection to surrealism and impressionism more natural than with more fashionable styles of art. Nonetheless, his movement with brush and paint was articulate and conforming to whichever painting technique he preferred.

He painted The Reading with oil touching gesso, but curators later transferred the original version onto linen. The most vivid semantics in the artwork revolves around politics, its ropes, the people, and their hopes. Goya sourced his inspiration from Velazquez, Anton Mengs, and the elements of nature. He predominantly relied on romanticism, expressionism, and impressionism. He used these styles to uniquely detail the plights of the men, some barely and others wholly engrossed in reading a newspaper. A bright yellowish light illuminates the man in the middle who seems to know or project a curiosity to know more than his mates. The paper sits on the middle man’s lap. The most engrossed men are the three enclosing the newspaper, including the middle man.

Another man is directly behind the central figure. He looks up in the sky, significantly unconcerned with the paper and more with his fate. There is still another figure of a man, farther behind the most bearded politician, but it is obscure. The obscure man struggles to see what the enlightened ones are seeing. No matter how hard he tries, he can't get a glimpse. The politicians studying the newspaper are blocking him. The painting of the Politicians is part of Goya's collection of fourteen pieces known as The Black Paintings. Fransisco was living in his Quinto home on his own when he completed the series of paintings, which he hung on the walls of his house. Some of the artworks in the collection include The Two Mocking Women, A Dog and Old Men Eating.