Prison Interior (c. 1810-14) by Francisco Goya

Prison Interior - Francisco Goya - c. 1810-14

Artwork Information

TitlePrison Interior
ArtistFrancisco Goya
Datec. 1810-14
MediumOil on tinplate
Dimensions42.9 x 31.7 cm
Current LocationBowes Museum, Barnard Castle
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About Prison Interior

Prison Interior is a masterpiece by Francisco Goya, painted between 1793-94. The cold and dim light in the painting conveys a haunting atmosphere of purgatory. The painting consists of seven prisoners bound by heavy chains on their hands and feet, revealing the inhumane conditions present during Goya’s time.

During the year 1792, Goya became seriously ill and lost his hearing, causing him to produce works that reflected darker subject matters. Prison Interior explores a monumental year in his artistic life that marked his transition away from formal portraits of the Spanish Court which focused on wealth and prosperity.

Apart from its emotional intensity, Prison Interior showcases Goya’s innovative technique where he combines elements of Baroque painters such as Caravaggio with those of contemporaries like Jacques-Louis David. This artwork continues to be an essential representation of societal inequality and oppression that are even prevalent today.

Goya has become known for creating artworks that tell important historical stories through vivid imagery. He revealed not just what he saw but also made sure viewers could feel strong emotions while seeing profound issues being illustrated on canvas with surrealistic detail.

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