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Thursday, 5 April, 2001, 18:39 GMT 19:39 UK
Museum rejects Goya claims
The Colossus
There are queries about Goya's The Colossus
The director of Madrid's Prado museum has rejected a claim that two paintings attributed to Goya in the museum's collection are not by the Spanish master.

Fernando Checa spoke out in response to the surprise claim by British Art Historian Juliet Bareau-Wilson that the works were not by Franciso de Goya.

Mr Checa is adamant that the works are authentic.

Saturn devouring his child
Saturn devouring his child - one of Goya's disturbing "black" pictures
"For the Prado, the two works are by Goya and they have been given out on loan as such," he told the leading Spanish daily newspaper El Pais.

"Opinion to the contrary must come in scientific publications and a thoroughly worked catalogue."

In an interview with Spanish Art magazine El Periodico del Arte, Ms Bareau-Wilson had said that the canvasses lacked the force to be the work of Goya.

Ms Bareau-Wilson was subsequently backed up by Prado curator and Goya specialist Manuela Mena, in claiming that The Colossus and The Milkmaid of Bordeaux were works by other artists.

"All the findings of Wilson-Bareau's investigation, which I support, indicate that the painter (of The Milkmaid) was Rosario Weiss, who was said to be Goya's daughter," Ms Mena said.

"It appears to be the work of a girl, helped by the master who was her father."

Penetrating

Ms Wilson-Bareau has investigated the paintings with x-ray and under The Milkmaid there is evidence of sketches of other figures, something unusual in the work of Goya.

On the Colossus, Ms Wilson-Bareau said: "Almost all specialists agree that it is not a Goya painting."

Ms Mena said that there had been doubts about the two paintings for several years.

But she added that a definitive categorisation of the works will not happen until a detailed scientific study on the Prado's collections is completed.

The Wine Harvest
Earlier in life Goya painted sunnier themes - here The Wine Harvest
"This will help throw light on Goya and other artists," she said.

Francisco Goya is considered one of the world's greatest artists and one of the first "modern" artists.

In his penetrating and intimate view of humanity he was a pioneer of new artistic tendencies which were to come to fruition in the 19th century.

Goya was born in the middle of the 18th century and created his most innovative paintings, drawings and prints after the near-fatal illness that left him deaf at the age of 47.

Heritage

Ms Wilson-Bareau - who curated the exhibition of Goya drawings currently on show at the Hayward Gallery in London - has questioned the provenance of other so-called Goya works in the past.

In the 1970s she dismissed some 150 of the 500 or so works attributed to the painter.

Both Ms Mena and Ms Wilson-Bareau recommend further studies on the work of Goya's assistants Agustin Esteve and Asensio Julia and an artist called Leonardo Alenze, who is known for his perfect Goya copies.

They will now add Rosario Weiss, the child of Goya's lover Leocadia Zorilla de Weiss who lived with the artist late in his life.

In the meantime both The Milkmaid and The Colossus will stay at the Prado as according to Ms Mena they are clearly part of the painter's heritage.

See also:

21 Jan 98 | Europe
20 Sep 00 | UK
26 Mar 01 | Entertainment
13 Mar 01 | Entertainment
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