Goya Storms the Freedom Tower

Hail the Spanish master, alive and well in black and white

Some of the funniest works in Los Caprichos is a handful of plates in which educators, portrait painters, and aristocrats literally get made over as asses. In one, Goya knocks the starch out of the pretentious Prince of La Paz and his bogus genealogical pedigree. Asta Su Abuelo (And So Was His Grandfather) depicts the noble ass as he entertains himself by looking up his bloodlines.

Spectators might find Goya's fire-in-the-belly portrayals of war to be the most eye-blistering among all the works on display.

Created during the Napoleonic invasion of Spain, the 80 prints in his Los Desastres de la Guerra series raise the bile to the craw. They also might draw the most comparisons to a post-9/11 world.

Nadie Nos Ha Visto: Goya takes no prisoners
Nadie Nos Ha Visto: Goya takes no prisoners

Details

"Goya: The Engravings of the Caixanova Collection": Through November 9. Freedom Tower, 600 Biscayne Blvd, Miami; 305-237-7186.

In these works Goya's wretched countrymen fight the French for their lives with a barbarity that's unfathomable.

He brutally depicts the violence between the combatants, doling out forests of corpses along the way. Women fall under volleys of musket shot while babies cling to their backs; others attack soldiers with stones or their bare hands.

The French cut their prisoners' gullets while the Spaniards hack them to bits in return. Rotting body parts sway from stout oaks like ornaments on a Christmas tree, never revealing to which nationality they belong.

A choking sense of suffering wafts like gunpowder from these images, making it clear Goya condemned war as winless for all sides.

His warning reminds that even to the victor ruin will come. It's a message that grows only more chilling with time.

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