Friday, 27 Jun, 2008 Offbeat

Goya's Iconic Painting Not Created by the Genius?


Francisco de Goya's iconic painting El Coloso, depicting a brooding giant above frightened people and animals, has for decades been the pride of the Prado Museum in Madrid.

But the museum announced yesterday that the famous Goya painting was not created by the Spanish artist after all. The one who painted El Coloso was most probably his pupil.

This amazing conclusion has been made by the museum's senior Goya specialist, Manuela Mena. The painting was created after 1808 in the period of time when Napoleon occupied Spain. It has long been considered to be one of the artist's most dramatic images of war horrors.

Having carefully studied the painting for nearly 20 years in order to clear out the doubts over its attribution, Manuela Mena has finally concluded that El Coloso was created in a style completely alien to Francisco de Goya. The museum's chief Goya specialist has also expressed her doubts over at least three other Goya paintings kept in the Prado Museum.

Having held a meeting of international specialists in Madrid, Ms Mena described El Coloso as photogenic, attractive and influenced by Goya. But, as she and the other specialists concluded, the celebrated painting could not have been the master's work.

As admitted by Ms Mena, the painter of the bulls depicted on El Coloso did not have any idea about the anatomy of a bull, while Francisco de Goya possessed the deep knowledge about it. Moreover, the donkey on the painting looks like a furry toy, having nothing in common with Goya's perfect donkeys the Spanish master depicted during the same period. El Coloso features no details corresponding to the Goya known to his specialists.

The British Art historian Nigel Glendinning has long argued that Goya was the one who painted El Coloso. He supported his believe by the power of the composition revealed by the painting and its audacious centrifugal dynamism. As Professor Glendinning commented on the conclusions made by Ms Mena, they need arguments backed up by facts. He has promised to study the findings in detail.

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