Francisco Goya produced his famous series of etchings, 1799’s Los Caprichos, at a time when narrow-minded religious extremists and other authoritarians were striving to control politics on the one hand while on the other the rise of the Enlightenment represented society’s attempt to shift to reasonable thinking.
Populated as the etchings are by monstrous metaphors for social injustice and the dangers of unchecked superstition, there is a clear timeliness to the Taft Museum presenting a first edition of Los Caprichos now through Jan.
By today’s standards, Goya was like a hybrid of Jon Stewart and Perez Hilton, rarely shying away from scathing political satire and snarky remarks about the habits and fashions of his day’s aristocracy. And like Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz after him, Goya translates many of these topics into dark fantasies where prostitutes, unfit rulers and lessons in morality are represented by a menagerie of anthropomorphized beasts and mythical monsters.
Goya's Los Caprichos continues at the Taft Museum of Art through Jan. 30. Go here for Matt Morris' full review, museum details and directions.