Colossus (c.1815) by Francisco Goya

Colossus - Francisco Goya - c.1815

Artwork Information

ArtistFrancisco Goya
Dimensions28.5 x 21 cm
Art MovementRomanticism
Current LocationBibliothèque nationale de France (BnF), Paris, France

About Colossus

The artwork “Colossus,” completed circa 1815 by artist Francisco Goya, represents a significant contribution to the Romanticism art movement. Measuring 28.5 by 21 centimeters, this mythological painting is part of the collection of the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) in Paris, France. The genre of the piece suggests a focus on themes beyond the natural world, exploring the terrain of the fantastic and allegorical.

“Colossus” depicts a dramatic and formidable scene with a giant, a prominent figure in the foreground, seated amidst a vast landscape. The limbs of the colossal figure are robust and muscular, underscored by the strong chiaroscuro that gives them a sense of mass and volume. The giant’s facial expression is intense and brooding, with dark, shadowed eyes that seem to fixate on an unseen point in the distance. Behind this powerful figure, a muted landscape stretches into the horizon, under a sky that is somewhat obscured, save for a delicate crescent moon which appears to hang almost hesitantly in the sky.

This mythical being’s posture, with its back turned partially towards the viewer, adds an air of mystery to the work. The backdrop appears serene and desolate, containing sparse details of what may be the faint outline of a settlement or community. This stark contrast between the immense form of the Colossus and the seemingly insignificant life happening below speaks to common Romantic themes, like the sublime and the individual’s relationship to nature. The composition and tone of the artwork suggest a broader metaphorical commentary, possibly reflective of the tumultuous historical period during which Goya lived.

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