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. Julia Blackburn writes of the elderly painter with the intimacy of an old friend, seeing through his eyes and sharing the silence in his head, capturing perfectly his ferocious energy, his passion and his genius.
Julia Blackburn has written several books of non-fiction - Charles Waterton, The Emperor's Last Island, Daisy Bates in the Desert, With Billie - a family memoir, The Three of Us, which won the 2009 J. R. Ackerley Award, and, most recently, Thin Paths; and also two novels, The Book of Colour and The Leper's Companions, both of which were shortlisted for the Orange Prize. She is the author of seventeen short stories specially commisioned by BBC Radio, a selection of which were published in My Animals and Other Family, and four radio plays, including The Spellbound Horses, which was broadcast in 2011.