Goya and the Mystery of Reading
Goya and the Mystery of Reading explores the critical impact this transition had on the work of an artist who aimed not to copy the world around him, but to see it anew—to read it. Goya's creations offer a sustained reflection on the implications of reading, which he depicted as an ambiguous, often mysterious activity: one which could lead to knowledge or ecstasy, to self-fulfillment or self-destruction, to piety or perdition. At the same time, he used reading to elicit new possibilities of interpretation. This book reveals for the first time the historical, intellectual, and artistic underpinnings of reading as one of the pillars of his art.
This book is the recipient of the 2023 Norman L. and Roselea J. Goldberg Prize from Vanderbilt University Press for the best book in the area of art or medicine.
Introduction: Francisco de Goya and the Reading Revolutions
Chapter 1: Reading and Politics
Chapter 2: Reading and the Self
Chapter 3: Reading, Leisure, and Sensuality
Chapter 4: Reading and the Contours of the Human
Afterword: Words Written at the Edge of Shadows
"Between painting and reading, intermediality strikes. This book explores the different ways a master painter addressed reading as an intermedial companion in his art. Between the political, the self-reflective, the enigmatic and more, reading accompanies Goya's visual depictions in ways never before examined with such creative precision as in this study."
—Mieke Bal, Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis, author of Image-Thinking: Artmaking as Cultural Analysis ~Mieke Bal, Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis, author of Image-Thinking: Artmaking as Cultural Analysis
"Living in an era in which readership and the diversity of texts flourished, Goya not only read, but explored in paintings, prints, and drawings the shifting connotations of reading: as intellectual or spiritual inspiration, as fashion ornament, or as path to self-discovery, saintliness, perversion, or madness. In this engrossing study of readers in Goya's art, Martín-Estudillo focuses on a theme too long overlooked, and he masterfully unveils the richness and nuanced implications of Goya’s imagery."
—Janis A. Tomlinson, author of Goya: A Portrait of the Artist ~Janis A. Tomlinson, author of Goya: A Portrait of the Artist
"Moving beyond the hyperfocused way in which Goya is often regarded, this is an important step forward that provides a new lens through which to examine the artist and his work."
—Mark McDonald, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York ~Mark McDonald, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
"Martín-Estudillo does a superb job of showing just how prevalent reading is in Goya's works, to the extent that one comes away quite amazed at having been shown something quite prominent that has gone mostly overlooked by many, many commentators and critics."
—Anthony J. Cascardi, UC Berkeley, author of Francisco de Goya and the Art of Critique ~Anthony J. Cascardi, UC Berkeley, author of Francisco de Goya and the Art of Critique