The Colossus, a major work once thought to be painted by Spanish artist Francisco de Goya which hangs in Madrid’s Prado museum is now said to be the work of his assistant.
The Guardian reports: “The final decision to remove Goya’s name from the painting followed a lengthy study by the Prado expert Manuela Mena [Marques], which the museum published yesterday. It was expected to reignite the controvesy that first raged when the museum signalled last year that it had begun to doubt that The Colossus could have been painted by the deaf Spanish genius, who died in 1828. Mena said X-rays of the picture had allowed her to spot significant differences between this and other Goya works. Not least of these was the discovery of the top half of the faded initials ‘AJ’, scribbled in the bottom left-hand corner, which she said may point to it being the work of one of his assistants, Asensio Juliá. Julia is known to have been Goya’s main assistant in the later part of his life. One of Goya’s most passionate defenders, British art historian Nigel Glendinning, had previously said he thought the marks might not be initials but could, instead, form part of the number 18. The Prado’s expert, however, also claimed the quality of The Colossus was far below that of Goya’s other masterpieces.”
Marques identified 16 points indicating that Julia painted the work. It was completed between 1808 and 1812, during the Spanish War of Independence.
Was Goya Living on the DL? [tr]