Notes From Goya's Ghosts

A friend of mine invited me the other day to go along with her and her boyfriend to a movie they got free tickets to see. It was an advance showing of the film Goya's Ghosts. I must admit, I didn’t really know much about Francisco Goya, so I decided to attend the show, hoping to learn a little more about him. Overall, I found the movie rather unremarkable; however, there were two scenes in particular that struck me.

The first was a scene in the movie that thoroughly demonstrated the entire process of making an etching (a form of printmaking). There was a certain satisfaction in watching a process that has changed very little in the last five hundred some-odd years of its existence. Having made etchings myself, I felt a sense of pride in knowing this special way of printmaking and being a part of something so much greater than myself.

The second and final noteworthy item from the movie was of a scene where Goya was working on a portrait of a clergyman. Brother Lorenzo was trying to determine a suitable pose for his likeness and asked a question about what to do with his hands. Goya explained to him that if he chose to have his hands rendered in the portrait, it would cost him an extra, “2000 for one hand or 3000 for both.”

The audience laughed at the artist’s reply, as if they misinterpreted it as a joke or an outdated practice. As ridiculous as the offer may have appeared, it is still practiced today by many artists. A lot of people, and artists alike, will tell you hands are difficult to render, thus the extra charge. As for me, I like a challenge, so if you ever contact me to do your portrait, rest assured I won’t charge you extra for any appendage ;).