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Current time:0:00Total duration:3:25

Goya, Saturn Devouring His Son

Video transcript

we're the Prado in Madrid and we're looking at boys black paintings yeah we're in a room filled with them they had been the paintings that he had made to decorate his home just outside of Madrid literally they'd been painted all in the walls and we're looking at one of the most striking of these panels Saturn sometimes refer to as Saturn devouring one of his children it had been prophesied to Saturn that one of his sons would dethrone him Saturn his god of time so in order to prevent that occurrence Saturn devours his children as they're born but one escapes Jupiter and so Saturn in the end is dethroned and he can't escape the fate that's been allotted to him in fact one could argue that he causes his fate by trying to reverse it so it's this terrible story rendered in the most horrific way possible and it's a reminder that this is an allegory for the ideas that Goya was thinking about this moment of power of power and the way in which a power treats its own children its own charges in order to stay in power Koya had seen the Spanish state this - monarchy destroy the country well and then he saw Napoleon's army destroy the country and and then he saw the restoration of the monarchy destroyed the country and so this notion of the cyclical nature of time the notion of turning on one's own charges turning on one's own children but here rendered allegorically but in the most vivid and I cannot imagine more powerful manner in one way I read Saturn's bulging eyes and his grasping hands and his sort of frenetic desperation in one way as I'm not going to lose my power but on the other hand I also feels like he knows he must do this and he's aware of how terrible it is and just sort of does it in this insane chaotic frenzied way he is as Goya has rendered him almost dissolving you can see his basic anatomy of course but look at his right elbow and the way in which the skins were wraps around and is his forearm almost dissolves his shoulder begins to dissolve we can see his thighs and they begin to pick up the light but then there seems to be some an extra piece of him just above let's say his left hip and so there is his way in which his insanity is and since he's coming apart and this interest in rendering the meat of the body the flesh of the body in all of its violence and it's physicality in all of its to grotesqueness well I think the word flesh is right there's something about his own body that looks like meat like butchered meat and at the same time that he is butchering and eating his own son this is the result of what Goya witnessed this is Goya's reflection of the world that he saw and his understanding of humanity and what it was capable of