Exhibition Lecture: Karissa E. Bushman Capricious Corpses: Death, Destruction, and Disaster in Goya's Works
7:30 PM–8:30 PM
116 Art Building West
141 N Riverside Drive, Iowa City
While many of Francisco de Goya’s iconic images of death were inspired by Spain’s War of Independence, he did not limit his portrayals of death to those caused by war. Rather, in his prints, drawings, and paintings, Goya treated death as a worthy subject throughout his career. At times his imagery is gruesome and disturbing, and at other times light-hearted and humorous. His whimsical depictions of corpses satirized Spanish society for its superstitions, vices, and poor health care. Because he himself was a victim of major illnesses, which twice nearly claimed his life, and because he lived through some of Spain’s most tumultuous times, he was no stranger to the darkness of death. Indeed, he claimed to have seen major battles and the grave consequences of the War of Independence, although we now know many of these declarations to be false. Thus many of his depictions of war and conflict, while inspired by historical events, were capricious—fanciful inventions akin to his satirical depictions of death.
Karissa E. Bushman received her PhD from the University of Iowa in 2013 and is currently a teaching fellow in art history at Augustana College. Her area of specialization is eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European art, focusing on its historical, political, literary, and religious contexts. Dr. Bushman is particularly interested in the complex relationship between Francisco de Goya and the Spanish Catholic Church as depicted in his art. She is working on a book manuscript titled Goya’s Anticlericalism in the Context of the Spanish Enlightenment.
Francisco de Goya y Lucientes
Al cementerio (To the cemetery), plate 56 from Los Desastres de la Guerra (The Disasters of War), 1863
Etching and aquatint, 9 5/16 x 13 3/4 in.
Gift of Owen and Leone Elliott, 1976.43BD
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