“Goya’s Ghosts”: Tracing War, Torture, and Intolerance Through The Painter’s Spain
There’s not a whole lot of Goya in “Goya’s Ghosts”, the 2006 movie by detail-oriented, lush filmmaker Milos Foreman. Religious persecution, Dickensian plot twists, and Natalie Portman’s tears, sure. But in this wholly fictitious tale played out in a true-to-life historical setting, Stellan Sarsgård as the great painter of violence and intolerance is more of concerned observer as the big guns, Portman and a creeptastic Javier Bardem scream and suffer through the brutality of the Inquisition. Nonetheless, the richness of the production makes it a fine companion to Goya’s works and a must-see for anyone planning a trip to the painter’s native Madrid—a tour ready made for you in our “Art + Travel Europe: Step into the Lives of Five Famous Painters” . With a supporting cast of historic locations—including Royal Palace of El Pardo and the sweeping Jardines del Buen Retiro, “Goya’s Ghosts”, while no great epic, adds dimension and motion to both the most pleasing and most horrific images created by Spain’s great chronicler of beauty and blood.
Above: Javier Bardem’s “Lorenzo” faces the Inquisition in “Goya’s Ghosts”, courtesy of The Saul Zaentz Company.
Above: Goya’s “Inquisition Scene”, c. 1816, courtesy of the Royal Academy of San Fernando, Madrid.
Above (left to right): Stellan Sarsgård as Goya in “Goya’s Ghosts”, courtesy of The Saul Zaentz Company. Goya’s “Self-Portrait with Easel”, c. 1790 – 95, courtesy of the Royal Academy of San Fernando, Madrid.
Above (left to right): Goya’s “Milkmaid of Bordeaux”, c. 1825 – 27, courtesy of the Prado Museum, Madrid. Natalie Portman as “Inés” in “Goya’s Ghosts”, courtesy of The Saul Zaentz Company.
Above: A scene of conflict from “Goya’s Ghosts”, courtesy of The Saul Zaentz Company.
Above: Goya’s “The Third of May 1808”, 1814, courtesy of the Prado Museum, Madrid.
To visit works by Goya, head to the Prado and the Royal Academy of San Fernando in Madrid.
23 Calle Ruiz de Alarcón
Royal Academy of San Fernando
13 Calle de Alcalé, Madrid
To visit the actual site of the atrocities depicted in “The Third of May 1808”, go to the Príncipe Pío hill in western Madrid,