Goya – Visions of Flesh and Blood (2015)

November 25th, 2015
Author: Meredith Taylor

Director: David Bickerstaff | Producer: Phil Grabsky

Biopic | Documentary |

Francisco Goya is Spain’s most celebrated artist and often considered one of the leading protogonists of the modern art movement; his piercing psychological insight seen in his portraits of Spain’s leading figures during a time of great turbulence for Europe at the crossroads of the 19th Century.

In this feature-length documentary based on the major exhibition GOYA: THE PORTRAITS at London’s National Gallery, the film builds a compelling portrait of the artist’s 80 year life offering critical appraisal from experts and contemporary artist, illuminating behind the scenes footage, masterpieces from international collections and visits to the places where Goya lived and worked in Spain and France.

Once again regular collaborators, producer Phil Grabsky and director David Bickerstaff, offer an insightful and visually compelling arthouse piece with filmed excerpts provided by a professional actor in the part of Goya himself, to flesh out their straightforward documentary narrative, much as they did in their Van Gogh documentary.  Occasionally feeling like an Open University title with its largely didactic approach, GOYA: VISIONS OF FLESH AND BLOOD is nevertheless absorbing and highly watchable. The film uncovers Goya’s close friendships and dalliances showing him to be a brilliant observer of everyday life and of Spain’s troubled past, and a gifted portraitist and social commentator par excellence. Bickerstaff’s peerless camerawork compliments Goya’s brushwork and technique showing how his penchant for white lead oils could well have lead to his deafness in later life but also shows how the painter developed his talent, continually improving and honing his craft, taking the genre of portraiture to new heights of genius, despite times of great financial hardship. MT


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