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Michael Iarocci in conversation with Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby

July 10, 2023 @ 6:00 pm

Michael Iarocci in conversation with Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby

A discussion focusing upon the book:

The Art of Witnessing: Francisco de Goya’s Disasters of War
by Michael Iarocci
published by University of Toronto Press

Widely acknowledged as a major turning point in the history of visual depictions of war, Francisco de Goya’s renowned print series The Disasters of War remains a touchstone for serious engagement with the violence of war and the questions raised by its artistic representation.

The Art of Witnessing provides a new account of Goya’s print series by taking readers through the forty-seven prints he dedicated to the violence of war. Drawing on facets of Goya’s artistry rarely considered together before, the book challenges the notion that documentary realism and historical testimony were his primary aims. Michael Iarocci argues that while the depiction of war’s atrocities was central to Goya’s project, the lasting power of the print series stems from the artist’s complex moral and aesthetic meditations on the subject.

Making novel contributions to longstanding debates about historical memory, testimony, and the representation of violence, The Art of Witnessing tells a new story, print by print, to highlight the ways in which Goya’s masterpiece extends far beyond conventional understandings of visual testimony.

Michael Iarocci is a professor of Spanish Literature and Culture at the University of California, Berkeley.

Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby is Goldman Distinguished Professor in the Arts and Humanities at University of California at Berkeley. She specializes in 18th- through early 20th-century French and American art and visual and material culture, particularly in relation to the politics of race and colonialism. Professor Grigsby writes on painting, sculpture, photography and engineering as well as the relationships among reproductive media and new technologies from the 18th to the early 20th centuries.

Praise for The Art of Witnessing:

“Michael Iarocci’s deft analysis transforms the way we see The Disasters of War. He explores the allegorical potential of Goya’s images as well as multiple readings of their captions before turning to the role of their sequence, which takes the viewer on a journey as witness forced to confront unmitigated atrocity and devastation. This book is essential to understanding Goya’s unique accomplishment and its sadly enduring relevance.”
Janis A. Tomlinson, author of Goya: A Portrait of the Artist

“Iarocci guides the reader through a brilliant tour of Goya’s Disasters of War, offering a series of commentaries that leave no room for doubt that these shocking images of the horrors of war are as urgent for us today as ever before.”
Anthony J. Cascardi, author of Francisco de Goya and the Art of Critique