|Goya's Carretadas al cementerio|
One needs to only read Hemingway to see the influence of visual art on his writing. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has an article on Francisco Goya's looming presence in For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940). Specifically, Goya's The Disasters of War series can be seen. This series can be seen more directly, though, in Hemingway's short story "A Natural History of the Dead" from Winner Take Nothing (1933). The story describes, in gruesome detail, the ravages of war with mutilated corpses of humans and animals strewn across the fields decaying in the sun. Describing the sight of dead mules, the narrator says, "The numbers of broken-legged mules and horses drowning in the shallow water called for a Goya to depict them" (98). Later in the story, as a doctor examines a wounded patient, once in the daylight and once with a flashlight, the narrator intones, "That too would make a good etching for Goya, the visit with the flashlight, I mean" (103). Hemingway's descriptions of war in "A Natural History of the Dead," and in works such as A Farewell to Arms and For Whom the Bell Tolls, show the influence of artists like Goya who unapologetically displayed the ravages of war in his etchings.
You see, I really have wanted to make it so that people get the idea that these folk, who are eating their potatoes by the light of their little lamp, have tilled the earth themselves with these hands they are putting in the dish, and so it speaks of manual labor and--that they have thus honestly earned their food. I wanted it to give the idea of a wholly different way of life from ours--civilized people. So I certainly don't want everyone just to admire it or approve of it without knowing why.
|Van Gogh's The Potato Eaters|
Gaines, Ernest J. "Bloodline in Ink." Mozart and Leadbelly. Eds. Marcia Gaudet and Reggie Young. New York: Vintage, 2005. 37-44. Print.
Gaudet, Marcia and Carl Wooton. "An Interview with Ernest J. Gaines." Conversations with Ernest Gaines. Ed. John Lowe. Jackson: University of Mississippi Press, 1995. 200-216. Print.
Hemingway, Ernest. Winner Take Nothing. New York: Collier Books, 1986. Print.