Small pictures are special. Intimate, often reticent, they demand that we pay strict attention to what happens within their circumscribed boundaries, but in recompense, they allow us to approach them closely and, when they are illusionistic, to enter a magical miniaturized universe at once like and unlike our everyday, actual-size world. The works in the current exhibition “Goya: Truth and Fantasy, The Small Paintings” offer such pleasures in abundance, but even more important, they permit us to see the Spanish master at his most private.[1] Drawn from Goya’s entire career, they range from early conceptions of commissioned pictures better known in their large, public, finished versions to eccentric little paintings done to please no one but the artist himself, from ingratiating miniature portraits of family members to tiny but ferocious works on ivory, like portable versions of the celebrated black...

 
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