F.J. de Goya y Lucientes (?)
(Fuendetodos, Aragón, 1746-1828, Bordeaux)
Procession in Valencia
Oil on canvas, 105.5 x 126 cm

Two out of four paintings listed in an inventory of 1812 are marked in white X.1. One of these is the "Procession in Valencia" in the Bührle Collection, most probably executed as a companion-piece to a the bullfight scene now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Today, both paintings no longer are considered to be authentic works by Goya, although a specific attribution for them has not yet been suggested.
The procession is a theme which Goya frequently handled – especially in drawings. In the Bührle Collection's picture, the formal solemnity of such an event, which is almost a ritual, undergoes a remarkable transformation. Such a procession normally expresses the need of a populace for pageantry, but in this picture a factor of uncertainty has entered in. The forward-surging mass of the faithful and priests, embedded in the undulations of the dark terrain in the background, has been stalled by the accident with the donkey in the foreground, and, what’s more, it seems at this spot, owing to a lack of definite spatial orientation, to trail away into infinity. This impression is reinforced by the menacing architectural background, which is strangely transparent and shadowy, against which the comparatively tiny human figures do not manage to assert themselves. A familiar, everyday setting is here delivered up to demonic natural forces; atmospheric phenomena of all kinds have blown across the scene and, as it were, given way to an unveiled reality.