unending process

Comparison b/w David's 'The Death of Marat' (1793) and Goya's 'The Third of May 1808 in Madrid' (1814-15) 

 

I will be comparing “The Death of Marat”, 1793 by David and “The 3rd of May 1808 in Madrid”, 1814-15 by Goya. Marat is shown as a new martyr by David. Martyr of the revolution who sacrificed his life for a great cause. We see an idealized image of David’s friend, Marat, the revolutionary publisher, lying dead in his medicinal bath with a piece of paper in handwritten by his murderer Charlotte Corday to gain entrance. She was guillotined after four days. We can see the wound on the right side of Marat’s chest and the knife which was used to stab him, on the bottom left corner of the canvas. The source of light is clear. It has a linear composition with absolute clarity on the subject. Here we have unity of light and multiplicity of detail. A lot of attention has been paid to the contours, the effects of light and dark. The anatomy, the muscles in the shoulder, collarbone, and arms. Marat got a skin condition therefore he had to stay in a medicinal bath for many hours a day. David didn’t show any skin blemishes or disease marks or a lot of blood in this portrait. Keeping Marat clean and pure. According to platonic philosophy when the body dies the soul, on the contrary, is free from the prison of the body and returns to ideas and rationality so death is seen as a positive end. The soul is immortal. David portrays a Christ-like figure in Marat. We see a wooden box used as a table for the inkwell. On the box, we see written ‘A Marat’ means ‘to Marat’ and David. At the bottom, we see Year two which means year two of the revolution. 1793 was the year of the terror, many were sent to the guillotine, many were considered traitors. Marat’s writings played a pivotal role in ending many lives. The revolution was anti-catholic and anti-monarchy. A lot was being changed to the new ideas including the calendar and the metric system. Here David portrays Marat as a common man with no luxuries, gold or expensive furniture and ornaments. The canvas above Marat is dark, plain and simple which brings more attention towards the subject and also confirms that Marat was a man who did not only aggressively and viciously promoted but himself followed the republican ideals of the revolution.  

 

The 3rd may 1808 in Madrid by Goya is a documentation of events that took place in Madrid when the French army invaded Spain and occupied the capital city, Madrid. The image portrays executions taking place. It is an anti-classical, painterly and open composition with relative detail. Compared to the Rococo style that pleases the viewer here Goya is shocking the viewer. We see a row of French soldiers pointing their guns towards terrified and empty-handed people. We see dead people on the ground with fresh blood all around them. There are many others in line who are next. They are covering their face with their hands to not see their fellow citizens getting killed or the fear of being the next victim. It shows an endless row of people that were in line to get executed. The big lantern on the ground sheds a bright light on the victims. There is darkness in the background of the royal palace. Under the dark sky, we see this dreadful scene happening against a hill. We see a man with a white shirt raising his hands wide open towards the sky and eyes wide open as if asking what has he done to deserve all this brutality. It also signifies Christ being crucified on the cross. The victim’s right hand shows a stigmata, referencing the marks made on Christ's body during the crucifixion. We see people in anger, people frightened, covering their eyes and starring. The innocent were being killed by the Napoleon army as reprisals and a warning. A day before on May 2nd the people of Spain retaliated against the French army. Through this brutality they were being told that if you will retaliate then you will suffer. This didn’t deter the Spanish because there was long warfare resistance. This painting is not idealized, it has relative clarity. We can see the brushwork. In classical idealization, you don’t show corpses, no violence or death, just a little bit in the foreground. Here Goya is showing the bodies of executed without editing. The firing people are treated differently as an efficient row of killers, stripped of humanity, brutal killing machines, systemised and ordered. Victims are anonymous. The viewpoint is more straight ahead. Goya placed the viewer as the witness, front and center, there is a documentary quality as though the viewer is present on the scene, astonished, horrified and angry that this took place. As a viewer one cannot be present as a bystander, they would eventually condemn it.  

Both the artworks represent a real historic event. David rooted in classicism and didacticism seeks to teach the viewer a lesson of greatest virtue. His images glorify the subject as righteous and worthy to be followed as an example for others. He draws most narratives from ancient Roman history where sacrificing your own life for the city and state is considered virtuous and is worthy of praise and appreciation. Here David is doing exactly the same with Marat. He is uplifting him to the level of a saint and a savior who devoted his life to the ideals of the revolution. His skin is clear, his body seems to be in a healthy and good shape, which probably is not entirely true at all. Whereas Goya completely negates and abolishes the idea of classicism. He is showing blood, dead bodies, fear, pain and suffering of his people who went through the painful experience of death under the sword of unchecked power. He is idealising neither the french soldiers nor the victims, he is providing a grim picture of the event that took place in Spain when the Spanish people were brutally murdered by French soldiers for standing up against them taking over without any approval. The style of painting is in complete contrast with one another. Goya is more painterly, there is relative clarity, it is an open composition. The light is brighter on the victims and we see dark shadows behind the french soldiers showcasing the victim and the oppressor, stripped of any human emotion. Whereas David showcases absolute clarity of detail, strongly represents the light source and subsequent shadows, confirms to the classic antiquity, it is a closed composition, planar space, and a linear representation. David and Goya both enjoyed royal patronage. They were able to reinvent themselves many times. Goya was in favor of Napoleon but when he saw the massacre of his people his views changed and deeply affected Goya personally and professionally. Both painters treated bodies differently. David drew bodies based on racial perfection, mostly white, caucasian. Males were shown active and strong, whereas females were shown passive and weak. Goya does not idealize bodies, he paints what he experiences. His ultimate goal is to show the reality. He does not follow any ideal that gets in the way of presenting human emotions.

The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters by Goya (1799) 

This paper will focus on Francisco Goya’s “El sueño de la razón produce monstruos” (“The sleep of reason produces monsters”), 1799. Etching and aquatint, 8.5x6. 

This painting refuses to follow classical idealization. It is painterly with relative clarity and detail. The objects are not presented in perfect, harmonious proportions. The purpose here is not to achieve idealization but to value human emotion and imagination.  

The image portrays a dream-like environment where the artist himself is resting his arms and head on his desk surrounded by visually threatening bats, owls, and a cat. The lynx on the right mimics the artist’s posture, but in contrast, it is widely awake and vigilant against the monsters. The cat is a predatory symbol of the night, owls are a symbol of folly, and bats are a symbol of ignorance. Goya is dressed like an aristocrat, suggesting that he is an enlightenment intellectual. The artist or the writer is shown so wholly lost in his ideas and ideals that he is not aware of reality anymore. (Ciofalo, 426) 

Goya here is exploring the world of fantasy to find the ultimate truth. He is arguing that reason should be the main ingredient in any endeavor. Here he is also criticizing the clergy and the people in power who executed or imprisoned the voices of reason. As defined by Goya himself in another handwritten commentary, “Abandoned by reason, fantasy produces impossible monsters. United to reason, fantasy is the mother of the arts and the source of marvels” (Moffitt, 1-2) 

 

Figure 1 ,Francisco Goya, The Sleep of Reason produces monsters (Los Caprichos, no. 45) 1979 

Goya believed in invention and creativity, not so much in convention and tradition. We can safely say this because Goya himself in his announcement for the Caprichos in the Diario de Madrid on the 6th February 1799 (“inventadas y grabadas al agua fuerte por Don Francisco Goya [invented and engraved in aquatint by Don Francisco Goya]”). His commitment to creativity and artistic expression also comes forth in his speech after he was appointed as the director at the Royal Academy of San Fernando in 1795, where we famously proclaimed that (“there are no rules in painting. It is less important to adhere to convention  than to recognize talent and to allow it to flourish freely, to reward and protect he who excels [in the arts]; to hold in esteem the true artist, to allow free reign to the genius of students who wish to learn them, without oppression, nor the imposition of methods”) (Cascardi, 2) 

The French revolution started in 1789. About nine years before these paintings were made. What took place in France at that time was chaos and bloodshed. Louis XVI was funding the American revolution and spent frivolously on clothing and his family’s luxurious and lavish lifestyle, while the people of France were dying of starvation. Due to poverty and socio-political unrest, the elite started demanding a constitutional monarchy and the Jacobins demanded a republic. The revolution began and the Jacobins after not being taken seriously by the national assembly revolted and were ordered to be shot down by the National Assembly. Around fifty of the Jacobins died. Meanwhile, Louis XVI along with the national assembly planned to take over Austria to steal food and wealth. Austria and Prussia, in turn, united against France. However, Louis XVI conspired against the revolution and encouraged Prussia to take over France. The National assembly found out the conspiracy and suspended the monarchy and by a voting system formed a republican constitution. The guillotine, an instrument of the revolution was introduced for a swift and supposedly painless death. More than 16000 people were guillotined who were considered the enemies of the revolution including Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette. The revolution also killed a lot of fellow revolutionaries. It was termed as the Regin of terror. The calendars were redesigned, metric systems were standardized and everything that was based on religion and monarchy was supposedly replaced with rationality and reason. The republican constitution was revised again and during the wars, with Prussia and Austria, a new hero was emerging among the ranks known as Napoleon Bonaparte. In 1799 Napoleon was established as the first consul of France. What followed was a new absolutist regime that promoted violence, human suffering and propaganda through art. Goya, in the beginning, was in favor of the revolution, being completely deaf at this point, he was the director of the Royal Academy of San Fernando. He started working on the Caprichos in parallel with official commissions of portraits and religious paintings including the Duchess of Alba, Queen Maria Luisa on Horseback and more. After 1972 his paintings such as Yard with lunatics, Prison interior and the Madhouse portray his affinity towards the vulnerable and forgotten people of the society. He started expressing the misery and suffering of people in contrast to the celebrated idealism and societal norms that didn’t allow free expression.  

Religion became merely a performance, the church just became a tool for corruption and undue influence. The melancholic and dark nature of the picture signals the belief in witchcraft in the eighteenth century. Many children did not survive in their early years and would die of disease or illness. Mothers during pregnancies were also at greater risk as compared to today. Therefore a lot was unknown about what changes take place in the human body that leads to so many deaths. The belief in witchcraft and demons would have been the way to satisfy this tragedy of losing loved ones. Although in the late eighteenth century, the age of enlightenment, when these paintings were made the inquisitors and philosophers had virtually denied the existence of witchcraft or demons and the prosecution of alleged witches was also brought down to a bare minimum. Therefore Goya’s Caprichos were received and conceived as a work of pure fiction (Tal, 33). Commercially not a big success as the paintings were dark, gloomy, melancholic and not appealing to the senses of people who were used to an era of paintings in which objects were idealized. No grotesque or human vulnerability was shown. No demons, monsters, blood, killing or human suffering and emotions were portrayed to bring forth the reality of people suffering the atrocities committed by the church and the aristocracy. Goya later painted a series that highlighted the horrors of war. It had Intense imagery with violence and irrationality that seem to match catastrophic social upheavals of the time. The work was small and private. It was about disasters in the wrong places. Religious craziness, orgiastic ceremonies, witchcraft.  

Goya worked for the church and then was enjoying his life as a court painter in Madrid working for the top people when a severe illness struck him in 1792 that led him to vertigo, nausea, blindness, noises in the head and deafness. He developed tinnitus, which meant he had to suffer through the continuous ringing in his ears. The rest he recovered from, but Goya was stone deaf for the rest of his life. This suffering and disability changed his life dramatically. He was not able to communicate with anyone, no discussions, minimal human contact. His paintings became dark, and he showed prisons, madhouses where people were kept away from society without treatment and were considered useless. He feared to end up in those places himself. Therefore to keep his sanity Goya was now exploring a different world. With no contact with the people outside Goya started exploring himself. His fears, his imagination. His solitude made room for observation. On the other hand, it liberated him into the topographer of the inner self. Everything had to do with hallucination, madness, craziness, and fear. He wants the viewer to feel the same stimulation as imagination has prime importance in most of Goya’s art (Klein, 214). Goya is not afraid of challenging or questioning the viewer. His ultimate goal is to show the truth, the reality as it is with all its natural flaws, blemishes, and irregularities. In the “Sleep of Reason”, Goya is also proposing that imagination without reason can lead to madness; however, if reason does not let down its guard, imagination can bring creativity and artistic fulfillment. Therefore he is announcing that there is a price to be paid for being an artistic genius that might end up in madness if the reason is unable to restrain or tame that imagination. (Klein, 215) 

The Caprichos series was published during the Spanish inquisition and french revolution. Goya was aware of the dangers of disagreeing with the politics of his country. However, his ultimate desire is to show the reality of his time through his art. Haunted by demons and monsters, he fears execution and revenge. The artist is already lying on his tools; the paper and paintbrush can be seen on the table. An owl can be seen delivering a paintbrush to the artist as if asking him to turn his imagination into images. In “Sleep of Reason” Goya is addressing the religious fraud, bizarre superstitions, and persecution of innocent citizens happening during his time. Goya might be saying that if we keep sleeping, our dreams and imaginations can lead us to foolishness and insanity, and therefore we must wake up to reality and find our way back. Therefore the “romantic ideal” of Goya during the dark time, in this painting in his own words, is evident, and that is to banish harmful, vulgar belief and to perpetuate the solid testimony of truth (Moffitt, 36).  

 

 

Figure 2 and 3, Francisco Goya, Design for a Frontispiece to a set Suenos, Drawing 1797. 

Goya initially intended a frontispiece for his 1799 publication of Los Caprichos. Instead, he used a self-portrait. He made preparatory sketches for almost all the work in Los Caprichos. In Figure 3 we see Goya sleeping on his desk, a painting box, a pile of books, light emerging from his head, Goya’s own face emerging among the creatures of the night, awake and watching himself sleeping. In the second version in Figure 3, we see Goya has cleaned away the visual chaos of his dream with a smooth curve. Here Goya has almost completely removed his personal belongings, we don’t see the painting box, books, Goya’s face. In other words, Goya wants the viewer to be able to relate him or herself to the person sleeping (Ciofalo, 6).  

Goya has faith in nature. He shows what makes humans equal and universal. He does not give any individual in the society an edge over another in his paintings. His paintings for the king and his family show vivid design and colors on the dresses but the faces look completely natural as if they are normal human beings and not even slightly more intelligent than any other individual. He did not idealize his paintings. Still, the drama and expressiveness he showed in his work are still completely relatable to the common people and the elite. Goya wanted a good life, he wanted a property in the field. Away from the hustle-bustle of the city. He bought shares in the Bank of Spain. Started painting without commission to sell them freely. He started using the new technology at that time to enable himself to make more copies of his paintings. Financially, Goya wanted to be independent. He did a lot of commissioned and noncommissioned work for people he did not completely agree with. He went along with everyone. In his work, one can notice that he does not directly attack any particular person but gives hints and invites his viewers to have multiple interpretations of his work. He calls the viewer’s imagination to learn his perspective with a free and open mind. He invites the viewer's own imagination without critique and judgment.  

Bibliography 

Moffitt, John F. “Goya's ‘sleep of reason produces monsters’: Another look at the renaissance and romantic contexts of ‘la fantasía.’” Source: Notes in the History of Art, vol. 24, no. 1, 2004, pp. 36–43. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/23207894. Accessed 13 Feb. 2020. 

Ciofalo, John J. “Goya's Enlightenment Protagonist: A Quixotic Dreamer of Reason.” Eighteenth-Century Studies, vol. 30, no. 4, 1997, pp. 421–436. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/30053868. Accessed 15 Feb. 2020. 

Klein, Peter K. “Insanity and the Sublime: Aesthetics and Theories of Mental Illness in Goya's Yard with Lunatics and Related Works.” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, vol. 61, 1998, pp. 198–252. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/751250. Accessed 18 Feb. 2020. 

Cascardi, Anthony J. “Goya: Secularization and the Aesthetics of Belief.” The Insistence of Art: Aesthetic Philosophy After Early Modernity, edited by Paul A. Kottman, Fordham University, New York, 2017, pp. 227–256. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1x76fts.12. Accessed 18 Feb. 2020. 

Tal, Guy. “An Enlightened View of Witches Melancholy and Delusionary Experience in Goya's ‘Spell.’” Zeitschrift Für Kunstgeschichte, vol. 75, no. 1, 2012, pp. 33–50. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/41642644. Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

Basics of Singing 

Singing is the most natural and earliest form of human expression. Following some basic practices you can improve your singing.

 

1. Posture and Breathing

2. Warmups and Practice Technique

3. How to Learn a Song

4. Punctuation, Steady Beat, Syllabic Stress, Dynamic Phrasing and Text Emphasis

5. Vocal Health

6. Singing in Different Styles

Habits and Music 

Our everyday life is full of habits. We do them intentionally and unintentionally. They are an essential part of our life. Observing your habits can help develop a better understanding of one's own self and that can lead to more development and maturity. 

1. Observe your daily habits.

2. Find your Go to's  

3. Find good and bad or helpful and not so helpful habits

4. It takes 21 days to develop a new habit

5. 20 Second Rule

General Guide to practice ear training 

Listening carefully can lead to very profound experiences. Our listening abilities have got lesser because of the noise we are surrounded by especially living in cities makes us avoid a lot of sounds. Getting used to the noisy environments. Our listening was not always this way. As hunter-gatherers, we were more aware of our surroundings in terms of hearing and recognising different sounds hundreds of years ago. Therefore this can be challenging to be able to listen carefully and recognize pitches, scales or harmonic intervals but not impossible and you will be glad you did.

Starting with listening carefully. Following tips can help any beginner. Give some time every day, a couple of times a day.

  • Learn scales (Major and Natural Minor are the common ones.
  • Listen to songs and find Scale degree One (Do or Sa)
  • Learn modes of Major scale (Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, Locrian)
  • Search songs online that belong to major scale modes (Yes, Google them. There are plenty)
  • Try to replicate on voice or any instrument whatever you hear or think of. 
  • There are a lot of apps on play store or Appstore where you can practice intervals and scales. Do that!
  • If you have Spotify, download ear training albums and listen whenever possible.
  • Learn Harmonic and Melodic Minor modes. Play them. Search online and listen to songs that belong to these modes. They have their distinct sound.
  • Listen to Oud, Sitar, Sarod, Rubab, Violin (Indian and Western), Kora, Santoor, Saxophone, Guitar, Piano, Voice or electronic music etc. I mean different instruments from all over the world because that is how you will hear music in the real world. DON'T STAY IN YOUR OWN BUBBLE WHEN IT COMES TO LISTENING MUSIC.
  • Try remembering phrases, melodies, rhythm patterns
  • This all is learning and boring part. Just enjoy what you are doing. Music is to play and enjoy. Always remember that.