Two Old Men / Two Monks / An Old Man and a Monk (1821 – 1823) by Francisco Goya

Two Old Men / Two Monks / An Old Man and a Monk - Francisco Goya - 1821 - 1823

Artwork Information

TitleTwo Old Men / Two Monks / An Old Man and a Monk
ArtistFrancisco Goya
Date1821 - 1823
Dimensions146 x 66 cm
Art MovementRomanticism
Current LocationMuseo del Prado, Madrid, Spain

About Two Old Men / Two Monks / An Old Man and a Monk

The artwork titled “Two Old Men / Two Monks / An Old Man and a Monk,” created by the distinguished artist Francisco Goya between 1821 and 1823, is a captivating oil on plaster transferred to canvas piece. Measuring 146 by 66 cm, this work exemplifies the Romanticism art movement and falls within the genre of portraiture. It is a significant component of Goya’s renowned series known as the “Black Paintings” and is presently housed at the Museo del Prado in Madrid, Spain.

The artwork portrays two figures, one who appears to be an elderly man, and the other, arguably a religious figure such as a monk. They are depicted against an obscure, almost pitch-black background, which serves to highlight their facial expressions and the details of their clothing. The elder is portrayed with a full white beard and a gaze that seems directed outwards, as he leans on a staff, suggesting a reliance on it for support. Beside him, the second figure is not fully in profile but turns slightly towards the elderly man, his mouth open as if caught mid-speech or perhaps expressing an emotional plea. The monk’s dark habit stands in stark contrast to the lightness of the elder’s beard, further emphasizing the somber and profound intimacy of the moment depicted. Goya’s use of heavy brushstrokes and the marked texture conveys the gravity of the figures’ expressions within a melancholic atmosphere, consistent with the thematic elements of the Black Paintings series, which often reflect on themes of human nature, old age, and existential introspection.

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