In 1792, when he was forty-seven, the Spanish painter Francisco de Goya contracted a serious illness which left him stone deaf. In this extraordinary book Julia Blackburn follows Goya through the remaining thirty-five years of his life.
It was a time of political turmoil, of war, violence and confusion, and Goya transformed what he saw happening in the world around him into his visionary paintings, drawings and etchings. These were also years of tenderness for Goya, of intimate relationships with the Duchess of Alba and with Leocadia, his mistress, who was with him to the end.
As she demonstrated in 'The Emperor's Last Island' and 'Daisy Bates In The Desert', Julia Blackburn has always had an uncanny ability to enter imaginatively into the lives of others. In Goya she has found her perfect subject. She writes of the elderly painter with the intimacy of an old friend, seeing through his eyes and sharing the silence in his head. Goya never stopped working, producing paintings "between two cigarettes", and Blackburn captures perfectly his ferocious energy, his passion and his genius.
'Old Man Goya' is the finest book to date by one of Britain's most original and imaginative writers.