Halloween en La Quinta del Sordo

Halloween in La Quinta del Sordo

Like every year we are looking forward to Halloween, a party to dress up, have fun and why not, decorate the house in style. But… What if we turn Halloween decoration into a must that in the end we don't even want to remove during the rest of the year?

Recently we brought you one of our most anticipated collections. Famous paintings from museums, unique works by artists of all time that no longer only have to be in art galleries. This time we want to focus on an artist, and also a Spanish artist.

Francisco de Goya, Spanish painter and engraver who covered a wide variety of styles. In this case we focus on his darkest time, and the last. His black paintings (1819-1823), is the name given to a series of fourteen mural works, painted with the oil technique al secco (on walls covered with plaster). He created them as decorations for the walls of his house, the famous Quinta del Sordo . These murals were transferred to canvas from 1874, and are currently preserved in the Museo del Prado in Madrid.

Although these paintings are not specifically from this time, we can already see what will finally lead to his dark age.

THE COVEN (1798)

The canvas shows a coven ritual, presided over by the Great Billy Goat, one of the forms that the devil takes, in the center of the composition. Around him appear old and young witches who give him children with whom, according to the superstition of the time, he fed. In the sky at night, the moon shines and nocturnal animals are seen flying (which could be bats).

The scene belongs to the aesthetic of "the terrible sublime", characterized by the artistic precepts of the time also in literary and musical pre-romanticism and which has its parallel in the German Sturm und Drang . It was about provoking an uneasiness in the viewer with the character of a nightmare. In this painting and in the series to which it belongs, the dark tones are accentuated, and that is why the setting is set in a nocturnal landscape. At the time of the execution of this series, Goya is working on The caprices with which he has a close relationship.


Three characters, dressed in skirts, bare-chested and wearing miter-shaped hoods, decorated with small snakes, and illuminated by a spotlight outside the painting, hold another man in the air, this one naked, abandoned in their arms, to which they insufflate air by blowing on his body, as revealed by his swollen cheeks. In the lower part, two men, dressed as farmers, have reached the top of the mountain, the tortuous and ascending path is lost in the darkness of the background, while their donkey has stopped below. One, fallen to the ground, covers his ears so as not to hear the noise of the flying beings; the other advances with the tail covered, protecting himself from the light and making a fig with his fingers, against the evil eye.

The painting has been subjected to radiography and infrared reflectography, which has served to demonstrate that Goya made an important change in the composition: the figure that is now facing forward, covered by a white blanket, was originally facing backwards , going back along the path he had come up, looking for the donkey, which can be seen below, and which was a symbol of Ignorance used by Goya in other works as well.