Witches In The Air

7:00 AM

Witches In The Air Goya, 1789

During the romantic movement, interest in witchcraft arose in the subject of paintings. For Goya, his interest came from a deeper place. During this time (the Ominous Decade) in Spain, Goya took a stand agains the Spanish Inquisition for hunting witches and driving people away from a non-religious based government, but towards the church by using witchcraft nonsense to draw attention. This piece is one of six he did for the Duke and Duchess of Osuna in 1789 to decorate their country house. Which had me thinking: if I were to decorate my country house, I know I would want a picture of three wizard-like figures with giant dunce caps holding a naked man in the air with another man running away, another taking cover on the ground, and who can forget the donkey in the shadows. Yes, that is what I would need in my country home. A warm cozy welcoming, I'd say.

But honestly, I do love this piece. It screams Goya and illustrates his struggles. I have seen his ups and downs as a painter  and this painting certainly shows his dark places. The man lying on the floor covering his head draws me the most, after the man being hovered in the air of course, but the man on the ground is giving up, he isn't running away, though he clearly doesn't want what is coming, but he lays there waiting anyway. That to me illustrates Goya not liking whats going on around him, but shutting down anyway and waiting for the next blow.

A confusing thing about this painting to me is the man walking away. Goya uses shadows and lighting very well in this piece, also movement of the body in the air, but the man moving away from the scene does not look like he is in any hurry. He looks to me like he has covered his head and is strolling away like he was never seen. I like to think that he was the one who delivered the man hanging in the air, that is what makes most sense to me, but I couldn't find the story behind what was actually happening here. And as long as I'm on topic of confusing things Goya paints, I like the donkey, it doesn't bother me really, but no story I can make up looking at this painting includes a donkey. So on behalf of me loving Goya and not finding much information on the story, I'm going to have to let that one slide, too.

I don't normally write about what I don't know about a painting or the stories I can come up with while looking at them, but Goya gives me that opportunity or a feeling that as a viewer I can do that. This may be a personal thing, but I'd like to think that anyone who knows Goya' story form tapestries to tragedies can also feel this way while looking at a painting of his.  

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