I’m reading Rabelais and His World and I’m taking notes as I go along.
There is much repetition of the tropes of Rabelais in Bakhtin’s book. For example, the term dismemberment is mentioned about twenty times and gaping about ten times. The grotesque body and what it stands for is explained over and over again.
It suddenly occurred to me that Francisco Goya is the specialist of the gaping mouth.The mouth which is wide open. Incidentally, gaping means yawning in my language (Dutch).
This morning I looked up the combination Goya/gaping/mouth.
British art critic David Sylvester came to the same conclusion:
- “The mouth plays a role in Goya‘s art more prominent than in that of any other major artist. Mouths leer, grin, gape, gasp, moan, shriek, belch. A hanged man’s mouth lies open and a woman reaches up to filch his teeth. Grown men stick fingers in their mouths like sucking infants. Mouths vomit, the sick gushing out of them, and a great furry beast sicks up a pile of human bodies. Mouths guzzle: they guzzle avidly, ferociously, living flesh as well as dead. Saturn grips one of his children in his fists and with his mouth tears him limb from limb.”
One can add to this the Lazarillo painting and the Caprichos There Is Plenty to Suck, Ya es hora, Estan calientes and the force-fed Chinchillas. And from the Desastres: the vomiting man in Para eso habeis nacido and the vomiting monster of Fiero Monstruo!