Hi David, Here is something for your blog if you wish to use it. Best, rANDm: Whilst in recent conversation with John Coulthart, we were reminded of an anecdote that Justin de Blank once shared with us, which is another key in the unlocking of Barney’s graphic larceny. Barney gave a drawing to Justin de Blank (circa1968) which was based on Goya’s pair of paintings ‘La Maja Desnuda’ (The Nude Maja) and ‘La Maja Vestida’ (The Clothed Maja), both painted around 1800. Justin recalled to us that Barney’s attitude was pretty much ‘why do 2 separate paintings: I can do it all in 1 picture’. Hence in Barney’s drawing the lady is half nude and half clothed! Perhaps this resonates some memories out of your own grey matter?
Wills: Yeah, I remember Barney shewing me this drawing at Leigh Court when he drew it, I thought she looked a bit plump, but admired the idea.
What immediately comes to mind after my fleeting visual memory of him unfolding the pad of bond on which it was drawn is that, contradicting Lewlew’s report, below, some say Goya may have imagined the nude version. In this scenario Goya painted the Maja clothed first, wearing bosom support, then ‘unclothed’ her but with no adjustment for gravity. He then simply replaced the Desnuda with the Vestida, thus satisfying the prurient Inquisition.
Or, if it was from life, her position is changed – her form is that of the Maja lying flat on her back looking up, with her feet slightly raised, not torso raised on pillows as here – Goya has rotated the image to raise her head by 38.5 degrees anti-clockwise (or widdershins as a contemporary British witch may have said).
CSI/Art Division. Forgive me – this is the sort of thing some artists’ enjoy…
No! Aha! I see it all now. This is an ariel view looking down from up a six foot ladder, forget the cushions, black them out, you’re looking down from directly above, at the Maja on her back, feet slightly raised. Goya, sitting on a ladder with a drawing board and a imperial-sized paper, would have drawn Ms Maja on two sheets of paper, since she was long and the paper not, and joined them, the figure is a collage of two drawings – the legs seem to be smaller and further away than the head and arms. Keen students may try ‘Shopping it around, enlarge the legs x 126%. If the model is on her back, the head and arms are in an easy, relaxed, head back, resting on the palms pose, but, when sitting up as it appears here, it is very stylish, but looks rather awkward to perform for long. The cushions have been artfully rearranged to suit Goya’s desired effect. Verdict: From life , with art. Innocent.
Barney B at Twickenham art school: I recall that while graduate Chris Higson wrote his thesis on Piccaso’s Guernica, see the Picasso in a box on Bubbles ‘Gracious ‘ cover – coming soon to blog near you (although since writing this Randm have shewn me that the immediate inspiration is from the artist Wesellman (sp?)), Michael Jackson studied Goya’s Maja. It may have been his thesis where I got the idea that the figure is two drawings, drawn from above. (Hi Mick Jackson.) Fulcher would have seen both thesis in ’59 and had a long memory.
Barney’s drawing would be a reminder to his mentor, Justin de B., of just what was possible when working with the Barney Brand.
I crib from lewlew on Goya at the following site
Lewlew: The painting that did land Goya in front of the Spanish Inquisition was The Nude Maja. He was commanded to report who comissioned the painting; if he did reveal who did, the information wasn’t ever made public. Goya did paint another depiction of the same woman, dubbed The Clothed Maja, because of pressure from Spanish society. He refused to paint clothing directly over The Nude Maja. According to the Wikipedia article on The Nude Maja, it’s supposedly the first painting in Western art to include pubic hair. In 1930, two sets of stamps of The Nude Maja were produced in Spain, but the US barred the risque stamps and sent back all mail with the offending images.