Goya's "Still Life, A Butcher's Counter"

Goya painted "Still Life, a Butcher's Counter" around 1811-1812, a period known as "ano del hambre," or year of hunger, because of the great famine in Madrid.



It strikes me that the meat depicted in this painting is just half-a-step closer to being "food" than than Lopez's "Skinned Rabbit," even despite the sheep's disturbingly expressive face. Maybe it's because the animal has already been cut into pieces that it seems that much closer to the fire.

A brief but interesting note on this painting can be found at Web Gallery of Art. Here is a partial quote:"according to his French biographer, Matheron, [Goya] painted several still lifes in the market at Bordeaux during his last years there. The present example . . . is remarkable for the period because of the casual arrangement of the sheep's head with its expressive eye, and sides of mutton. The signature is painted in red as if to simulate blood."

2 comments:

  1. Bit creepy... But interesting!

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  2. I know, it is creepy! What I find amazing is how he created almost a portrait of that sheep's head—there's something so present about the personality of that animal, even though it's been butchered.

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