Artibus et Historiae no. 40 (XX)

1999, ISSN 0391-9064

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EDWARD J. OLSZEWSKI - Exorcising Goya's The Family of Charles IV

The American art historical literature has given a consistently negative reading to Goya's masterful portrait of The Family of Charles IV. Surprisingly, this bias made its way from art historical survey literature into the scholarly literature, with comments by nineteenth-century French critics cited as sources but without documentation. Conversely, European criticism was directed at the Bourbon sitters based on a cynical reading of Goya as a caricaturist, but has always been laudatory of the artist. The pejorative views of Goya's portrait may stem from a remark made by Renoir in 1907, probably echoing a popular cliché of the time.

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