Goya works to go on view at the National

Great treasures can be found hidden in the storerooms of Greek museums. Who would have thought, for instance, that the National Gallery in Athens has one of the most complete collections of Francisco Goya etchings? Some might remember that it was last put on display in 1971, but has never been exhibited in its entirety since. However, as of June 25, we will have the opportunity to admire more than 200 works of the great Spanish artist, which former National Gallery director Marinos Kalligas had bought in Switzerland in the 1960s. This is also a watershed year for the great painter and etcher since it marks the 180th anniversary of his death and lots of tributes and exhibitions are taking place worldwide. «The exhibition is titled ‘Goya: a Printmaker of the National Gallery: The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters,’» the current director of the National Gallery, Marina Lambraki-Plaka, told Kathimerini. She explained that the subtitle is derived from one of Goya’s works. Excellent condition «The works were in an excellent condition. They did not need any conservation, just framing. We found a sponsor for the exhibition and on the occasion of the celebratory year we went ahead. The Petit Palais in Paris is running a similar exhibition, with Goya etchings, which is seen as one of this year’s most popular displays. They are works of great artistic and aesthetic value because they come from the first ranks. Goya was the painter who illuminated his time. His paintings and etchings are a commentary on human nature and they always remain of contemporary interest. If you observe the terrible scenes he created on the evils of war you will once more witness the horror we experience daily on the television news,» she said. Marina Cassimati is the curator of the exhibition, which will run to October. «We will display four series of acid etchings that made Goya famous to the wider public,» she said. Four series «Marinos Kalligas first bought the ‘Bullfighting’ series of 33 etchings. He then purchased the ‘Disparates’ series, with 18 etchings, which was followed by the ‘Disasters of War’ (80) and ‘Capricios’ (also 80). ‘Capricios’ was the only series that was released while the artist was still alive. He printed them by himself and then sold them at a bar below his house. In all of his works, especially the ones that deal with war, he focused on what men can do to each other. In the ‘Bullfighting’ series we can see the passion he had for this kind of spectacle. In ‘Capricios’ he let his imagination run loose and came up with paranoid sketches, sometimes even incomprehensible, which focused on people, from clerics to prostitutes. He was a free spirit, full of imagination and power,» Cassimati said. National Gallery, 22 Aghiou Constantinou, tel 210.723.5937-8. The exhibition will open on June 25 and run to October.