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The Deafness of Goya (1746–1828)

Elsevier Science & Technology
DOI: 10.1016/s0074-7742(06)74022-3


Publisher Summary Goya was born in Fuentetodos. Goya's early career continued with religious subjects such as the ceiling of part of the Church of El Pilar in Saragossa in 1772. Goya studied and copied the paintings of Velasquez who, like the Spanish school in general, had a tendency to portray humble models and often invalids. He had generalized cramps followed by ‘‘total paralysis that froze him into a protracted spasm of helplessness.’’ He had a high fever with hallucinations, was totally confused, and disorientated with loss of memory of his own name, place of birth, and his occupation as a celebrated painter. After several months of illness, Goya slowly recovered but not his hearing. He heard loud and constant noises, buzzing and roaring and ringing in his head. But he had more and more difficulty hearing the sounds of the real world, and could hardly make out the syllables of ordinary speech. His balance was badly affected; he could not go up and down the stairs without feeling the danger of falling over. He had fainting fits and spells of semi-blindness, He often felt nauseated and ready to throw up. He also had weakness and delirium. Further, Goya returned to the South of Spain in 1796. Even after four years of his illness he was still suffering from the after effects, walking with unsteady steps because of his imbalance and holding on to walls.

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