Baudelaire et Goya

Reux, Francois Marina Henriette (1977) Baudelaire et Goya. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

Few are the critics who discussed Baudelaire and Goya, and those who do, generally insist on what Baudelaire owes to Goya. There is however another way of studying their relations, and that is to consider Baudelaire’s new approach to Goya, his ability to sense the true spirit of his works and express it with a rare and valuable concision. Such will be the first aim of our study: to probe that Baudelaire’s criticism of Goya may be considered as new and revolutionary, if replaced in the social and artistic context of the time. -- Spain is the favourite topic of discussion in France around 1830, and one of the most important sources of inspiration among poets and writers; Contes d’Espagne et d’Italie, España are published around that time. Artists as famous as Chateaubriand, Merimeé, Gautier visited that country glorified by the romantics. While those travelers discovered Spain, the ruggedness of some regions, the colourful folklore of that wonderful country, back in France, the less fortunate read the chivalrous novel of Amadis de Gaula, studied and admired the Spanish masters, like Velazquez and Murillo, who could so perfectly recreate those “majas” and “toreros” who stood for an idealized Spain. They admired Goya as well, but only for his Caprichos, his only work to be known in France then. The romantics appreciated mostly in his engravings the fantastic atmosphere, those monsters and witches who were so much like those of Celestin Nanteuil. -- Gautier had seen much more: he had gone to Spain, had stayed there for six month. And had perfectly recounted his trip in Tra los Montes; Gautier had seen the different aspects of Goya’s works: he visited San Antonio de la Florida where he saw the frescos, admired the black paintings in “la quinta del sordo”, Goya’s residence outside Madrid, and the Tauromaquia. He gave a complete account of what he had discovered in a short study of Goya’s painting. Although he wonders at his unusual way of painting and finds him prodigious, he does not sense the complete originality of such a genius, and finds in his painting some resemblance with Velazquez and Callot; thus, Gautier follows the romantic point of view: Goy, according to him, offers us a unique portrait of the Spanish society; thanks to his work, all that exotic atmosphere that will soon die, will be preserved forever. Here lies his genius: in his ability to paint and satirise his society together with a rare preciseness. -- Baudelaire had also discovered Goya, it was even, according to some of his friends, one of his first passion, which will increase after his meeting with Delacroix. One ca sense that enthusiasm in the very few pages he devoted to Goy in De quelques caricaturistes étrangers, in which we note a complete understanding of Goya’s genius. Goya, he explains, is more than a mere “couleur locale” painter. Not that he criticizes Gautier’s study on the contrary, he advises everybody to read it, but he is looking for something far more important. He wants to make clear that Goya’s work can also be judged on a much superior level, the level of universality; the men and women he paints are not only Spaniards, they have any nationality, better still they are universal. Here lies his genius: in his capacity to express in his works all the grotesque and absurdity of human life. -- Baudelaire in sensing so perfectly Goya’s feeling, reveals something even more important, and that is how close those two masters were in terms of philosophical ideas. Such will be the second goal of our study: to prove that there was between those two men a complete “similitude de pensée”.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/7622
Item ID: 7622
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 106-108
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > French and Spanish
Date: 1977
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Goya, Francisco, 1746-1828; Baudelaire, Charles, 1821-1867

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