Muy accordes (Close Harmony)
Black Border Album (E), page 50
Inscribed at lower center, Muy accordes; numbered at upper center, 50; numbered at upper right, 63.
THE MUSIC OF MELANCHOLY
Music played a central role for Goya and his patrons. This sheet, the last known page from his Black Border Album, depicts a blind couple singing a cante jondo, a genre of Andalusian folk music. Following a grave illness in 1793, Goya permanently lost his hearing. The "close harmony" in the caption implies not only the musical accord of voices and guitar but also the compassion with which Goya treated the protagonists, given his own physical impairment. Moody and melancholic, this sheet foreshadows Goya's Black Paintings and the looming threat of the Inquisition.
From the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries, Spain witnessed the rise of the Catholic Church along with the flourishing of court artists who explored deeply spiritual visions. Concurrently, the nightmare of the Inquisition drove artists to probe the darker side of human nature through scenes of martyrdom and torture. Drawing played a central role in their conception of these diverse subjects—from Murillo's preparatory studies for painting commissions to Goya's private albums satirizing contemporary society. In addition to this rich tradition in Spain, Spanish artists also worked abroad, notably in Naples, which was a Spanish territory.
Visions and Nightmares marks the first exhibition of Spanish drawings at the Morgan, whose holdings in this area are small but significant. Showcasing over twenty sheets by Spanish artists spanning four centuries, this selection traces the shifting roles and attitudes toward the art of drawing in Spain.
This online exhibition was created in conjunction with the exhibition Visions and Nightmares: Four Centuries of Spanish Drawings, on view January 17 through May 11, 2014 and organized by Edward Payne, Moore Curatorial Fellow.
This exhibition is made possible by the A. Woodner Fund.