Saturday, March 15, 2008

Great Books

From Phil Carr's Recommended Reading List
For those of you who have not yet had the pleasure to meet him, Phil Carr is the most recent addition to our Adult Services staff. Here's a pick from Phil's recommended reading list.

Goya by Robert Hughes
Hughes' biography of Francisco Goya puts forth the theory that Goya was the first journalist to record in pictures the events of his day. (Note the cover of the book.) Goya was in essence a photojournalist at large before the advent of the camera. Goya's etchings, many of which were mass produced and sold to the general public, recorded the tribulations of the Inquisition and the Spanish War against the invading French. From this war, the term "guerrilla warfare" was coined. Goya recorded the whole show and Hughes puts forth a very readable record of the artist's ventures.

Hughes sees Goya as what the artist himself would have regarded as his most important roles: visual chronicler of his society, creator of images, interpreter of history. Goya's large-scale church commissions, his portraits of public figures and the royal court are at worst competent and at best triumphant examples of public art. Even public art has its secrets and Hughes reveals many of them -- warts and all.