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Release: Sept. 1, 2000

UI Museum of Art will show prints by Francisco Goya Sept. 16-Dec. 3

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Museum of Art will show 50 prints from "Los caprichos" (The caprices, or follies), a book by the Spanish artist Francisco Goya y Lucientes,
Sept. 16-Dec. 3 in the Works on Paper Gallery of the Museum.

The exhibition was organized by Kathleen A. Edwards, the museum’s curator of prints, drawings and photographs. The print series, a part of the museum’s permanent collection, was given to the museum in 1968 by Owen and Leonne Elliott of Cedar Rapids. This is the first time the prints will be shown to the public, as they were recently unbound from a mixed-edition book.

Goya was one of the most innovative and important artists of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. He is often placed alongside El Greco and Diego Velazquez as one of the three masters of Spanish art. Serving as court painter to kings Charles III and IV, he painted the royal family in a surprisingly realistic and unidealized fashion, revealing them as a group of very homely individuals.

In the winter of 1792 Goya contracted a serious disease that left him totally deaf and became a turning point in his career. A mood of pessimism marked his work after this date.

Between 1797 and 1799 he drew and etched "Los caprichos." One of the most influential and compelling print series in art history, "Los caprichos" represents a satirical mirror of the times. Using a synthesis of realism and imagination, Goya depicted both the victims and the purveyors of the corrupt government and immoral society that he saw around him. His cast of sinister characters includes prostitutes as witches, unprincipled professionals and lazy aristocrats as donkeys and monkeys, and clergy as warlocks.

Later series, such as "Desastres de la guerra" (Disasters of War, 1810), presented even more caustic commentaries on the ills and follies of humanity. The horrors of warfare were of particular concern to Goya, who witnessed bloody battles between French soldiers and Spanish citizens during the Napoleonic occupation of Spain. Among his most famous paintings are "Second of May, 1808" and "Third of May, 1808," paintings that depict the brutal massacres of unarmed Spanish street fighters by French soldiers.

At 70, Goya retired to his villa, decorating it with the so-called "Black Paintings" depicting macabre subjects, including "Satan Devouring His Children" and "Witches’ Sabbath."

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The UI Museum of Art, located on North Riverside Drive in Iowa City, is open 10 a.m. to
5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday; and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. Public metered parking is available in UI parking lots across from the museum on Riverside Drive and just north of the museum.