Fear and Folly: The Visionary Prints of Francisco Goya and Federico Castellon

January 30, 2010 - May 23, 2010

Though separated by about 150 years, Francisco Goya (1746-1828) and Federico Castellon (1914-1971) often appear closer to one another than to their contemporaries, as they both turned their attention to the human condition. In this exhibition, the artists are represented by important print series from the KIA’s permanent collection: Castellon’s lithographs for Edgar Allen Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death and Goya’s etchings from Los Disparates (or The Proverbs). Many artists have been drawn to things dark and fantastic, but few have probed the human condition with the insight and truthfulness found in these images.

Both technically and artistically, the images Castellon created for The Masque of the Red Death are among his most remarkable accomplishments. Long an admirer of Edgar Allen Poe, he chose the author’s classic tale of horror when offered a commission in 1969 by Aquarius Press of Baltimore. Rather than being confined to the role of illustrator, Castellon responded to Poe’s work as a kindred spirit. While keeping the spirit of Poe’s story, the imagery is very much the product of Castellon’s fertile imagination.

Los Disparates (or The Proverbs) was the last of Goya’s major series of etchings, and remained uncompleted at the time of his death. They contain some of the most horrifying and fantastic creations of Goya’s imagination: strange bird-men soar through a dense darkness, a wild horse abducts a woman, and a host of witches, boogiemen, and other representatives of depraved humanity emerge from the shadow. It is in his etchings that Goya comes very close to the dark fears of our own time.

On display in the Long Gallery on the Lower Level.

Federico Castellon, Stop Him and Strip Him I Say, 1968, lithograph