By Julia Blackburn
In 1792, when he was forty-seven, the Spanish painter Francisco de Goya contracted an illness that left him stone-deaf. Yet he continued to interact with his surroundings and to create, spending nearly thirty-five years in a world emptied of sound but bursting with images of pageantry, cruelty, and pathos.
In this brilliant, idiosyncratic book-a kaleidoscope of biography, memoir, history, and meditation-Julia Blackburn vividly imagines the artist's world during this time. She re-creates the artist's friendships and love affairs and breathes life into the subjects of his paintings: an ethereally lovely duchess, the spoiled grotesques of the Bourbon court, the atrocities of the Napoleonic wars. Old Man Goya is a rare work of empathy and imagination, a stunning portrait of the thought and life of a great artist.
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