Goya The Portraits National Gallery
Up until recently, I hadn't been familiar with the work of Goya.  However, when a friend kindly gave me tickets to discover the exhibition Goya: The Portraits, it seemed a wonderful opportunity to become better acquainted with the Spanish romantic painter's portraiture work, as I gather he is mostly famed for his depiction of war.  The exhibition was on display at the National Gallery in London from 7th October to 10th January, so you can go ahead and slap me on the wrists for sharing my thoughts the day after the banners came down...

Goya The Portraits National Gallery
Goya The Portraits National Gallery
Needless to say, photography wasn't permitted once you'd shown your tickets in the Sainsbury Wing and passed through the ropes.  Regardless, it most likely would have been taken off the agenda anyway due to the crowd the exhibition attracted!  I was well and truly taken aback by just how popular the exhibition was, though far less surprised once I'd shuffled my way forwards and seen Goya's portraiture work up close.  With explanatory leaflets in hand, visitors wound their way through the dark, atmospheric rooms and admired the paintings.  Personally, I'm a quiet observer when it comes to artwork; my thoughts stay in my head.  Though, that's not to say I didn't enjoy listening to the various musings of other visitors as they observed '70 of the artist's most outstanding works' - both profound and uh, otherwise!
Goya The Portraits National Gallery

Something I found equally as impressive as the paintings, drawings and miniatures, was the background provided on Goya's life.  The artist secured his first important portrait commission at the age of thirty-seven and continued to gain popularity and patrons ranging from aristocrats to military figures.  One thing is for certain, many of the faces of his subjects are now firmly fixed in my head - his own Self-portrait with Dr Arrieta included.  The painting shows him in a state of despair and illness before being brought back from the brink of death by the care of his good friend, Dr Arrieta. Was it moving?  Definitely.  If absolute recollection is the sign of a good artist, I can confirm I'm one of Goya's latest fans!
Goya The Portraits National Gallery
National Gallery architecture
The National Gallery
Trafalgar Square
London
WC2N 5DN

With love,

Gabrielle x