Is the Prado’s Colossus by Goya after all?

Posted April 26th, 2013 under Art History, Paintings, Spain

Colossus by Goya
The Prado in Madrid attributed the Colossus by Goya to a follower in 2008, but new research has sparked further debate. Could it be true that Goya painted the Colossus himself after all?

“The Colossus” is a painting traditionally attributed to Francisco de Goya that shows a giant in the centre of the canvas walking towards the left hand side of the picture. Mountains obscure his legs up to his thighs and clouds surround his body; the giant appears to be adopting an aggressive posture as he is holding one of his fists up at shoulder height. A dark valley containing a crowd of people and herds of cattle fleeing in all directions occupies the lower third of the painting.

The painting became the property of Goya’s son, Javier Goya, in 1812. The painting was later owned by Pedro Fernández Durán, who bequeathed his collection to Madrid’s Museo del Prado, where it has been kept since 1931.

Now, a study from a professor at the University of Zaragoza argues that the work may be by Goya after all.

The Art Newpaper writes that “this month, Carlos Foradada, published a paper in the Asociación Aragonesa de Críticos de Arte (the Association of Aragonese Art Critics) arguing that the work is by Goya. Foradada’s doctoral dissertation on the subject was assessed by the late Nigel Glendinning, a formidable Goya scholar who died in February. He addresses a number of points raised in a 2008 report by Manuela Mena, a leading curator at the Prado, which led to The Colossus, around 1808-18 (date disputed), being attributed to a follower of Goya.

The Prado’s report analysed the pigments, technique and style of the painting, and found considerable differences with other works confirmed to be by Goya. A controversy over the painting’s authorship ensued, polarising art historians and Goya experts. Mark McDonald, the curator of Old Master prints and Spanish drawings at the British Museum, explains that the problem lies in the fact that “either side will provide compelling evidence to support their own claims”.

Read on at The Art Newpaper.