Goya at CaixaForum

Goya goes to Barcelona


Intro Questions:

Do you like Goya?

What do you know about him?

Would you like to see this exhibition?

Why is his work popular?

How many meanings of the word draw do you know?


A conservationist inspects the Goya painting El Pelele before it was hung for the CaixaForum exhibition in Barcelona


Words & Phrases: Create sentences with context that explain the meaning of the following words.



A joint venture


to draw










he laid the way


Barcelona’s CaixaForum is hosting Goya: Light and Shadow, a didactic exhibition of almost 100 works that explores the main themes of the painter, who lived between 1746 and 1828 in chronological order.

A joint venture between La Caixa and Madrid’s Prado Museum, the exhibition includes some of Francisco de Goya’s best-known and most emblematic pieces such as The Clothed Maja, The Umbrella, Flying witches, and Still Learning. And the public is showing its appreciation of the Aragonese painter’s work from the Spanish capital, with the Caixa Foundation reporting 10,000 visitors over the opening weekend.

Nearly two centuries after his death, Francisco de Goya continues to draw an interest matched by few painters. In part this is due simply to his genius, but also because much of his life remains surrounded in mystery and popular legend.

The works being shown in Barcelona have been selected with the intention of offering the visiting public a chronological survey of the work of Goya. Without aiming at being exhaustive, the exhibition is structured into different sections in the manner of small visual accounts that analyze the principal themes depicted by the artist during the course of a career that saw him develop from court painter to one of the precursors of modern painting through his depictions of war.

The result will be to present a series of fundamental ideas around which Goya’s artistic, political and social thinking was articulated. The different sections of the exhibition thus reflect the social reality of Goya’s life, in which monarchs, the social elite, his friends and the working people all played prominent roles.

The show also focuses on the thematic variety and impressive technique evident throughout Goya’s oeuvre in all the different media in which he worked, as well as the fact that he simultaneously produced official commissions and other works of a freer, more critical nature in response to his own expressive needs.

“It’s not an anthological exhibition of Goya, per se,” says the Prado’s director, Miguel Zugaza. “But it is an anthological exhibition of the Prado’s Goya collection: we have tried to tell his story through all the facets of his life: as a court painter, as a sketcher, as an engraver, and above all as a man of his times, and who was concerned about what was going on around him.”

This is the first Goya exhibition in Barcelona in 35 years, and Manuela B. Mena and José Manuel Matilla, the exhibition’s joint curators, say that they are expecting it to be a huge success between now and June 24, when it closes. The Caixaforum will be extending its visiting hours in expectation.

Mena says that she is very pleased with the approach that the organizers have taken. “It’s about Goya, but rather than simply telling the story of his life, we have tried to explore the way that he approached the different subjects he painted,” she says, highlighting for example that Goya was not a lover of bullfighting.

“Goya painted the world of bullfighting in the same way that he did war, and many of his works on the subject are his way of condemning it. They are highly critical of the way that the bull was killed,” says Mena, pointing out that bullfighting was prohibited by the authorities in the late 19th century because it was seen as endangering public order.

An important aspect of the exhibition is its emphasis on Goya’s astonishing mastery of the different techniques employed in his paintings, drawings and prints, which laid the way for the subsequent liberation achieved by modern art. Visitors to the exhibition will also be able to appreciate technical and conceptual links between Goya and later artists that established a unique path and one that earned him the title of “first modern artist.”

Goya: Lights and Shadows is the first show planned as part of the joint exhibition program established by La Caixa Foundation and the Prado National Museum, the result of an agreement made between the two institutions last year.






Would you like to visit this exhibition?

Do you think his decision to condemn bullfighting would have been popular?

Do you agree that Goya was the first modern artist?

Can you name contemporary artists that are critical of society?




Please put the words below into the correct sentences.

Group 1:

hosting, didactic, a joint venture, emblematic, to draw x 3, exhaustive, depicted


1. Some of Goya’s paintings we see ______________ tales and hellish legends.

2. In 2013 Europa Fira will be __________ the Mobile World Congress.

3. Goya exhibitions always ________ a huge audience.

4. The walk around Montjuic and Plaza España was ______________ .

5. Could you __________ a picture of his face for us?

6. The story ____________ a perfect world.

7. The result of the football match was a 1-1 _________ .

8. A recent __________ ___________ between Europe and Russia will see new supplies sent to the international space station.



Group 2:

precursors, elite, oeuvre, facets, curator, to condemn, astonishing, he laid the way


1. I read yesterday that 1 new previously undiscovered piece has been added to Mozart’s ___________ .

2. The way that Messi plays and scores in almost every game can only be described as _______________ .

3. Bob Dylan _________________ for many other similar folk musicians in the 60’s.

4. The USA are asking China ______________ the attacks against civilians in Syria.

5. The __________ of Spanish athletics will compete in the Olympics this summer.

6. The latest trend on the internet is to _____________ information on a specific topic.





Can you tell me 5 points from this video?


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Justin Donlon

English Teacher & Content Developer Over 15 years of experience in engaging educational content

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