Art: The Steep Path

Had Francisco Goya died of the infection that deafened him at 47, he would be remembered only as a Spanish court painter with a knack for candid likenesses. But the tortuous, stone-silent path he entered in middle age led steeply upward, and he clambered gloomily to greatness. The blackest and harshest of the old masters, Goya made bitterness a virtue and found pessimism a fountain of youth. A big traveling show of Goya drawings, on display this week in San Francisco, proves once again how great his final achievement was.

Troublesome Tourist. Goya's beginnings...

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