• Hardik Gohil

Pinturas Negras (The Black Paintings): Part 2

How would one feel when his sense of hearing stops functioning?

Imagine yourself in such a situation where everything around you is in a mute mode!

Even a simple thought inside your head would be louder than a 5.1 Home-theatre playing a metal song on full volume!

A thought as simple as, Such a wonderful morning OR Have mercy you barbarians! Stop killing my fellow country-men for your own political motives!

The latter could probably be a thought inside Goya's head , if we generalize his ordeal through all those years of invasion and revolt on his own soil.


Not just the loss of hearing but also the deep wrinkles furrowing his body, those aching joints, loneliness, and other problems emerging due to old age had taken a toll on him.


As described in the 1st Part of the Black Paintings series, Pinturas Negras (The Black Paintings): Part 1, Goya witnessed the horrors of political reforms and violence across his homeland by French army-men during French revolution and Spanish Civil War.


Let us start with the other Paintings!

Saturn devouring his own son


Now, to understand this painting, we should dig a bit deeper into the Greek and Roman Mythology.


- According to Greek Mythology, Uranus (the sky) and Gaia (the Earth) gave birth to 6 Titans (males) and 6 Titanides (females). Cronus amongst the 6 Titans, overpowered his Father, Uranus, in order to control the Cosmos. Cronus and Rhea (one of the Titanides), both brother-sister in relationship, gave birth to 6 Olympians, namely: Zeus, Hades, Poseidon, Hestia, Demeter and Hera.

Zeus defeated his father Cronus, just the same way as Cronus defeated his Father Uranus, in order to conquer the Cosmos.

What we comprehend from this is, the future generations overpower the predecessors in order to be the Supreme Power.


- Saturn is a Roman God, who is equated with Cronus of Greek Mythology.

He is considered as the God of wealth, abundance and resources. He certainly does not wish, that one of his Sons would defeat him to be the Supreme governor.

Hence he starts killing his sons, in order to secure his position.



- This painting is known as the most evil paintings in the history of Arts!

The unbelievably tight clutch of his hands on the torso of his son depicts, how vigorously he is trying to rip off that piece of meat, left hand of his son.


- He has already devoured the head of his son. His eyes wide open, with long white hair scattered, naked in appearance, making him the most barbaric cannibal that anyone would come across.


- The clutch is so deadly, that it has pierced its way through the ribs on the other side, the blood making its way from top of his hand is evident.



- The skin-color of the dead on top and bottom of the clutch changes dramatically, the upper part is whitish, as if the clutch of Saturn has cut off all the blood supplies to pass through it. And the lower part is still brownish, as if the blood supply is still intact in the lower portion.

La Leocadia


- The Lady depicted in the painting is sad, wearing a dress usually worn in a funeral, and the structure against which she is resting could be a burial mound.


- Earlier in the days, big mounds were constructed to bury the dead-body along with the essentials which were dear to the dead, hence occupying more space.


- Burial mounds were prepared only for the aristocrats or a VIP, not for the working class or peasants.


- This mound could be of a politician who was a part of the unrest all across Spain and Goya wished that man to be dead somehow.

Fight with cudgels


- Two men trapped Knee-deep in marsh hitting each other with cudgels, giving severe blows to each other with an intent to kill.


- They appear to be peasants by their attire. Goya could be indicating the riots that took place during the civil war in Spain, people killing each other having no other alternative but to survive, as if someone ordering them to do it against their will, reminding me of a famous dialogue of a Hollywood movie "Lets play a Game", a psychopath uttering those words with a deep voice. Any guesses?



- The man in the left is bleeding heavily, probably he is at the receiving end.


- Again a Burial Mound like structure in the right side, indicating that they could be trapped in a marsh near a grave yard.

Two old men eating soup


- Two old men, out of which one on the right is practically a skeleton, and one in the left is one with the wrinkled skin, holding a spoon with his right hand.


- The skeletal figure could be of the same old man on the left, indicating that he is soon going to turn into a fleshless hollow structure.


- They might be pointing towards the days when the old man was young and enjoying his youth to his fullest, probably a reason for a smile on his face.

A Pilgrimage to San Isidro


- The sky is dark, the pilgrims in the front have a horrified look on their faces as if they saw Monsters who probably wander around the hills in the dark.


- The man leading the pilgrims playing a guitar, mouth wide open in horror.


- The figures fading away as the distance increases.


- Landscape comprises of Hills and rocky surfaces.

A Fantastic Vision


- Two figures who are airborne, a woman with red robe and white dress holding the man, as if she is trying to prevent the man to move forward.

The man is pointing towards a town on top of the structure, which could be an ideal place to live, amidst all the chaos! But it seems like the woman somehow knows that it is nothing but an illusion, a mirage!



- The group of people heading towards the heavenly town on horses and wagons are probably Spanish refugees who are trying to find a place where they can settle down forever , but the men with the rifles on the bottom-right corner aiming the gun on the refugees could be the French army-men who are ordered to kill those refugees!



Witches Sabbath

- Witches Sabbath is nothing but a gathering of the witches after midnight.


- Satan himself is holding a court of the witches, probably reciting the satanic mantra, some witches having a look of horror on their faces, some are bowing down to the God of Evil, some have closed their eyes.


- It is certain that Satan dominates the witches by inducing fear in them, just like we have god fearing people, we also have Satan-fearing witches!


- The Lady in the right of the Satan looks like a nun in appearance, but of the church of Satan, who follows his orders:


- The Lady with an unclear face in the extreme right of the Painting seems to be isolated from the gathering and is a mere observant of the Sabbath:


- The Satan here could symbolize a cruel aristocrat who controls the lives of people who are fearful and weak, just like the witches!

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