The Terrifying Brute Force of the Francisco Goya Black Painting ‘Saturn Devouring His Son’

In a somewhat prescient departure from his usual subject matter of films, video blogger and web producer Evan Puschak, aka the Nerdwriter, takes on what he considers to be “The Most Disturbing Painting” ever made – “Saturn Devouring His Son” by Francisco Goya.

This work was inspired by the legend in which Titan Cronus, fearing a prophesy that his son would replace him in power, would eat his male children when they were born so that the prophesy would not come true. Goya’s depiction of this horrific legend is a work of honest brute force and savagery that was never supposed to see the light of day. Towards the end of his life, the artist was in despair over the regressive state of his country and began painting what he felt onto the walls of his house. These were later known as “The Black Paintings” and consisted of 14 different paintings of nightmarish subjects, including the above mentioned “Saturn Devouring His Son”.

…Spain regained its throne. In the interim resistors developed the constitution of 1812 which called for liberal reforms like national sovereignty freedom of the press and free enterprise. But on gaining power the new king Ferdinand the seventh squashed the Constitution right away and arrested those who made it Goya withdrew disheartened. The country which in his youth had reached toward a new world was now swallowed again by autocracy. Scarred by war, scarred by illness, he began to paint nightmare scenes onto the walls of his home.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.