Friday, September 18, 2009

The Colossus By Francisco de Goya

The Colossus by Francisco de Goya*
The painting the Colossus was painted between 1808 to 1810. It depicts a scene of terror as a massive giant rises from behind a hill as a large caravan passes by. This painting was created to represent the giant as the defending guardian of the nation of Spain against the Napoleonic threat. One can tell by the scene that the travelers are instantaneously terrified by the beast's presence. Although, the beast doesn't care about the people and does not view them as a threat, thus turning his back on them.
Viewing this painting, many questions arose that seemed to be unanswered. Where is this painting taking place? Why has the beast been summoned? Where has this giant come from? Is this giant a god? Is he good or evil? Why does the beast have his fist clenched? Where were the people traveling to? Why has the giant turned his back on the people? These unanswered questions add to this enigma of painting and add to what is unknown.
*Recently, a great debate has arose on whether Francisco de Goya truely painted this painting. The final answer was decided that he was not the creater of it. The true painter of this masterpiece was in fact Goya's main assistant, Asensio Julia. This sudden change was brought upon by the discovery of the intials "AJ", etched in the top left corner of the painting. This was found during restoration of the painting and brought forward more investigation. The painting was the x-rayed and studied deeply. After further study, art historians discovered that many other facts could contribute to this painting not being made by Goya. Other clues found along with the intials were improper brushstrokes and miscoloring. Art historians say that the brushstrokes in the painting were unlike Goya and his perfect painting style. Along with that they agreed that Goya would not use the coloring elements used in the painting. This proved that Goya was not the true creator of the famous Colossus painting. After the decision was made, art historians changed the painting to show the new true artist's name.
With the orginal painter being discovered, more questions arise. Why would Goya "steal" his assistant's work? Will the painting still be famous even though the artist is unheard of? How will art critics view Goya now after this ordeal?
This painting has changed the viewpoint of many regarding it's true origins, and it will most likely remain mysterious just as it was meant to.


  1. I agree greatly that the painting represents the giant protecting the nation. but then again it is kind of confusing because you really cant tell if he is trying to protect the nation considering he is turned away from them.

  2. I agree that the giant is protecting the nation of Spain, it's just that he doesn't view these settlers as a threat. I feel that the giant is there to protect Spain from more serious threats like invaders.