The Chapman Brothers vs. Goya

The Chapman brothers decision to revamp Goya’s The Disasters of War was very controversial. The brothers were accused of vandalism and faced harsh criticism from many of their peers in the art community. However, their intention was never to ruin Goya’s work, but to challenge people to think about it in a new light.

The images that Goya etched were dark and disturbing to begin with, but the use of colors added details that enhanced these feelings. The light blue color draws emphasis to the faces, making them pop and highlighting the emotions that they are conveying. The clown-like faces add a sense of eeriness, while also heightening the theme of a nightmare. The brothers addition of color modernized Goya’s work and added a 21st century spin on the etchings. The act alone of drawing on Goya’s artwork causes the audience to debate whether or not the meaning of what Goya was trying to depict was lost or enhanced with the new additions.

Do you think that Goya would approve of what the Chapman brothers did to his work?

2 Replies to “The Chapman Brothers vs. Goya”

  1. I think that Goya would approve of what the Chapman brothers did to his work because it made his work more famous. I did not like a comment from one of the Chapman brothers in the video, however, saying that they would draw on all of them if they could. I think that although drawing on some of the Goya pieces is acceptable, drawing on all of them would be a tragedy. As long as there are original Goya pieces in good conditions, I think that it is ok that the Chapman brothers put their own spin on the artwork.

  2. I agree, the addition of color does make the work more eye-catching and modern. But the fact that Goya broke the copper printing plates before he died makes it seem to me like he didn’t want his original artwork messed with. The process of print making is a long one and I am sure the prints must have taken Goya some time. I have made some art pieces and I personally would be very offended if anyone altered my work, especially because of how long some pieces take. The artwork is also a way for Goya to leave his legacy, so I feel like drawing over them makes it so that the prints become associated with both the Chapmans and Goya, which steals some of Goya’s thunder. But that’s just my take. Goya could have been all about artists collaborating to create beautiful and interesting art and may have loved the additions to his prints.

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