Tomlinson, Janis A.
TOMLINSON, Janis A.
CAREER: Philadelphia Museum of Art, lecturer, 1979-80; University of Pennsylvania, part-time instructor 1979-80; Dickinson College, assistant professor of fine arts, 1980-81; College of Charleston, member of staff, 1981-84; Columbia University, assistant professor of art and archeology, 1987-95; National Academy of Sciences, director of arts, 1995—.
Francisco Goya y Lucientes, 1746-1828, Phaidon (London, England), 1994.
(Editor) Readings in Nineteenth-Century Art, Prentice Hall (Upper Saddle River, NJ), 1996.
From El Greco to Goya: Painting in Spain, 1561-1828, Abrams (New York, NY), 1997.
(Editor) Goya: Images of Women, National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC), 2002.
SIDELIGHTS: Janis A. Tomlinson, an author and an academic, has focused much of her writing on Francisco Goya (1746-1828), a Spanish painter fascinated by both the sensuous and the grotesque. A former professor of art and archeology at Columbia University, Tomlinson is the director of Arts for the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C.
Goya created tapestry designs, paintings, drawings and prints. In Tomlinson's 1989 book Francisco Goya: The Tapestry Cartoons and Early Career at the Court of Madrid she focuses on the cartoons Goya did before he created the tapestries based on his cartoons. Goya worked for the Royal Tapestry Factory from 1775 until 1792, and his work there helped him to succeed as an artist. These tapestry cartoons comprise the largest set of Goya's work from his earlier period, and Tomlinson tries to figure out their symbolism. By comparing Goya with his contemporaries, she argues that, though the works themselves may seem simple, there are not simple explanations for Goya's work. She notes that the cartoons are like much of his other art in that they reflect the political, social, historical and sexual leanings of his time. Art Journal reviewer Oscar E. Vazquez called Tomlinson's comments: "observant analyses of specific cartoon details previously overlooked."
Tomlinson's 1992 book, Goya in the Twilight of the Enlightenment, covers the next period of Goya's life, from 1789 until 1816. Peppered with historical references, the book includes chapters on Goya's paintings "Second" and "Third of May," as well as the cabinet paintings, Goya's works during the beginning of Fernando VII's reign. Apollo reviewer Jesusa Vega recommended reading the book, but also mentioned that it lacks mention of Goya's anxieties. Philip Deacon was even more complimentary: "Tomlinson has produced a work of formidable intellectual and analytical power," he noted in his Art History review.
In 1994 Tomlinson wrote a more complete book of Goya's life: Francisco Goya y Lucientes, 1746-1828. She views his career as having fed off of itself, and describes the way Goya's images—the horrific and the beautiful—overlap one another. With 210 color plates and seventy plates in black-and-white, the book is "sumptuously illustrated," wrote a Publishers Weekly reviewer.
For her next Goya work, published in 2002, Tomlinson edited Goya: Images of Women. Women were a favorite subject for Goya, and Tomlinson's book includes 180 images and five essays of how women fit into Goya's life, as well as the way Goya's art reflected the lives of women during his time. She includes official portraits as well as tapestry cartoons, with topics both gruesome and sensual. Also included in the work are Goya's "Naked Maja" and "Clothed Maja," along with a debate on whether or not they were painted together and how they were originally hung. The book is the catalogue for a 2002 exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. "It awakens a new sense of awe for Goya's virtuosity and humanity," Donna Seaman noted in her Booklist review of Goya: Images of Women.
In addition to her works that focus on Goya, Tomlinson has also written two general books on art history. She edited Readings in Nineteenth-Century Art, published in 1996, and then wrote From El Greco to Goya: Painting in Spain, 1561-1828, published in 1997.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Apollo, November, 1993, Jesusa Vega, review of Goya in the Twilight of the Enlightenment, p. 333.
Art History, December, 1993, Philip Deacon, review of Goya in the Twilight of the Enlightenment, pp. 674-675.
Art Journal, fall, 1991, Oscar E. Vazquez, review of Francisco Goya: The Tapestry Cartoons and Early Career at the Court of Madrid, pp. 95, 97-98.
Booklist, May 15, 2002, Donna Seaman, review of Goya: Images of Women.
Library Journal, April 1, 2002, Adriana Lopez, review of Goya: Images of Women.
Publishers Weekly, May 9, 1994, review of Francisco Goya y Lucientes, 1746-1828, p. 58.*