Twenty-Six Notes on Cannibalism

Goya was painting from the end of something. Some of us are ancient Saturn on offense, gobbling as fast as we can. 8. A father, Saturn, devours his son. Art provokes feeling and thought, and sometimes, hopefully, action. The same thing elsewhere. 16. H. Szilágyi’s writing appears in   Electric Literature,   Gastronomica,   The Rumpus,   and elsewhere. 9. 7. The biological urge to nip is evolution’s way of building trust: baby, I won’t really bite your sweet, pudgy foot. A prophecy foretold of an offspring’s coup. 14. (The counterargument is that his contemporaries were old men who died along with him.) When pressed, Junquera supposed it was the work of Goya’s son Javier, for the profit of his own son, Mariano. 23. Take away food from hungry children in schools. 26. Saturn knows this will happen; he eats his sons regardless. Of course, there’d been 300 years worth of artistic developments between them. 4. We all share the cannibalistic impulse, to put cute things into our mouths. But his eyes, his gaping mouth, his white knuckles say it all. E. He deserved it. That giant, lit by the moon, looks over his shoulder somewhat upward, lonesome. “Terrorism” and “national security” were used as an excuse for clamping down on civil liberties, as an excuse, elsewhere, for torture. I don’t think that was what Saturn was going for. Phaidon, 1957. They all share a lineage. […] The problem is despair. Edited by Tom Overton. 22. W. The Story of Art. Go back go back go back go back go back. (1950) Phaidon, 2006. It will be the same. ¤
Anca L. So take away healthcare. 3. 6. Edited by Edward Hopper. No, that wasn’t Saturn’s aim. Eat the poor in anger. pp.91–93. Look at his blank-eyed ferocity. 21. Verso, 2015. 20. These paintings were not commissioned. He will inevitably conquer his father.   Malraux, Andre. 11. Portraits: John Berger on Artists. Police brutality, riots, hate crimes, riots. Maybe, instead, we have a composite of public servants who stand up to the destruction of our democracy and the citizens who remain watchful and vocal and organized. We feed off each other, and, I think, it is mostly nutritious. The pale body lacks an arm and head, the other arm is elbow-deep in the Titan’s mouth. Goya’s depictions of cruelty are reminders of what we must cyclically confront. p. 10. Who was eating whom? Or purely malicious, a Boschian monster eager to rape and skewer. In this fear there’s also a fear of violence because of the violence inflicted by those in power. Take away reproductive choice and take away safety nets. In 1994, in a meditation on Goya’s series The Disasters of War (made from 1810 to 1820 and published in 1863), Susan Sontag wrote: “The problem is how not to avert one’s glance. She is the recipient of the inaugural Artist Trust/Gar LaSalle Storyteller Award and is at work on a novel. Berger, John. I had no idea this essay would go in this direction. None of Goya’s contemporaries ever mentioned the Black Paintings. 15. […] If, for him, […] man’s sole purpose was to bear witness to that which surpassed him, that which surpassed him was no longer God. For years I worked on a novel set during Argentina’s Dirty War (1976–1983), when an older right-wing generation tried to stay in power by arresting, kidnapping, torturing, and murdering a younger generation who had other ideals — along with anyone who was in any way suspected of opposing the dictatorship. 174. They were not for sale. An estimated 30,000 people “disappeared.” Embodied by Saturn’s bloodied anonymous son? It is one of the Black Paintings affixed to the walls of his home, Quinta del Sordo (House of the Deaf Man), which he bought in 1819 at age 72. 27 July 2003. 25. Perhaps they are of another breed. “Looking at the Unbearable.” Transforming Vision: Writers on Art. p. The Art Institute of Chicago, 1994. Some look askance at cannibalism, protecting their self-image even as they are cannibalizing. Beyond the frame of the painting, his wife Ops will get wise and feed Saturn a stone instead of Jupiter, hide him in a cave until he is grown. No one saw them until after his death. Saturn: An Essay on Goya. I could just eat you up! Frida Kahlo, no stranger to pain, admired Bosch, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, and Goya. Saturno devorando a su hijo is different from Francisco Goya’s other works, such as early portraits of royalty or even later etchings sharply critical of the atrocities of war. Cannibalism is Saturn’s solution. All I wanted to do was write about this painting of Saturn. Juan José Junquera, in researching his book The Black Paintings of Goya, found evidence in archives that the work may not actually be his. 5. Take in art before you make art. H. Go back to Africa. Cannibalism is visible today in the fear of underclasses, the numerous “minorities” whose desire for a better life is seen as a threat, as if a good life is only permissible for some, as if there’s only so much of it to go around. There is uncomprehending madness, yes, but beneath that fear. Gombrich, E. by C. Sontag, Susan. SEPTEMBER 5, 2017

Saturn Devouring His Son, 1819–1823
Francisco Goya
Museo Nacional del Prado
1. CALL THE COLOR scheme fairy tale grim: black, white, red, in descending order of abundance. 2. 13. André Malraux, before Berger, wrote:
To Goya’s mind, the soul of Spain was no longer to be found at Court. Do artists devour artists? Goya’s grandson was constantly in need of money and to sell his grandfather’s house with the paintings attributed to him was a boon. All this and more. When an underclass threatens your status, destroy. 19. Another fantasist of the grotesque, Hieronymus Bosch, a precursor also famous for depicting hell, like Goya keyed in to human impulses toward evil, and was also much copied and misattributed for profit. For it is not simply that this happened: Zaragoza, Chinchón, Madrid (1808–13). ¤
Lubow, Arthur. 18. Some of us are like Saturn in the medieval, astrological sense: distant, cold. Go back to Mexico, they say. Saturn’s cannibalism had been on my mind then, spurred, in part, by a worry of how far Bush’s post-9/11 policies would go. Chilton. “The Secret of the Black Paintings,” The New York Times. We have no one Ops, no one stone. […] Goya was not groping towards God, but towards a power older and beyond salvation, the everlasting Saturn. It is happening: Vucovar, Mostar, Srebenica, Stupni Do, Sarajevo (1991– ).” Battles, massacres. 12. Trans. Go back to Muslim nations. 78, 89. The artist’s fear is in Saturn’s eyes. John Berger, before Sontag, wrote:
[W]hat makes Goya’s protests so desperately relevant for us, after Buchenwald and Hiroshima, is that he knew that when corruption goes far enough, when the human possibilities are denied with sufficient ruthlessness, both ravager and victim are made bestial. 24. Take away the possibility of changing things for the better by taking away the right to vote. Sontag lists some of the damning captions, not written in Goya’s hand but perhaps taken from his notes, which include: This always happens. 17. I can’t think of particular artists who seek to destroy their younger counterparts, but I’m sure they exist, because artists are human. Whenever we think we are approaching peace and a pleasurable life, we are torn back by those who don’t understand, who only seem to know greed and fear, who seem at once mindlessly driven toward death and yet uncomprehendingly calculating in their goal of destruction. Gombrich, considered Goya more effective than Bosch in depicting the fantastic, citing Goya’s The Giant (1818). We don’t know which son it is and it doesn’t matter, I guess.