Daily Art Moment: Francisco de Goya

1. Mucho hay que chupar (There is plenty to suck), plate 45 from the series Los Caprichos, 1799, etching, plate: 8 1/16 in x 5 7/8 in; sheet: 11 5/8 in x 7 11/16 in. Three ghouls or goblins huddle together over a basket of infants. The ghouls have grotesque faces with exaggerated gaping mouths, sunken eyes, and gnarled hands. They are draped in light colored fabric while gesturing to a small box or open book in their hand. At their feet is a handled basket filled with what appears to be small babies. Two bats appear over their shoulders at right. Wings are outstretched in flight. Shadows at left balance the scene. “Mucho hay que chupar” appears along the bottom.

When it comes to bats, gremlins, witches, and bogeymen, it is hard to beat the graphic work of Francesco de Goya. In honor of #Halloween, I offer you four prints from our collection acquired in 2019. All four hail from Los Caprichos (Caprices), a series of 80 enigmatic, satirical, and frequently bizarre etchings published in Madrid in 1799. Goya’s work can be appreciated on many levels—his sophisticated use of symbols to skewer current political and social mores; his mastery of aquatint to produce passages of light and dark within the same print; and his rich, mordant humor. If you like them simply for the bats, that is ok, too! Which print best matches your Halloween mood?

Mary Weaver Chapin, Curator of Prints and Drawings

2. Se Repulen (They Spruce Themselves Up), plate 51 from the series Los Caprichos, 1799, etching, plate: 8 5/16 in x 5 13/16 in; sheet: 11 11/16 in x 7 5/8 in. Three goblins sit entwined horizontally, the one at far left carefully clipping the one at right’s left toenail with large scissors. The middle goblin is winged and in the shadows.
3. Linda maesra! (Pretty teacher!), plate 68 from the series Los Caprichos, 1799, etching, plate: 8 1/4 in x 5 7/8 in; sheet: 11 5/8 in x 7 5/8 in. An etching featuring two nude figures riding a broomstick in the sky. The two figures sit astride the broom, facing right, the broom’s straw end held aloft. The figure at front appears older with a drooping head, sparse hair, and wrinkled face. Their body appears drawn and thin. The figure behind is younger with a fleshy body and long hair flowing in the wind. They hold the first figure by the scruff of the neck, obscuring their own face with an outstretched arm. Behind them a dark sky is created with short horizontal strokes. Unmarked areas become the clouds. An owl with outstretched wings is positioned at upper right above the pair. The two figures ride above a far-off landscape showing trees and water. The artist’s signature is at bottom left.
4. Que viene el coco (Here Comes the Bogey-Man), plate 3 from the series Los Caprichos, 1799, etching with aquatint, plate: 8 7/16 in x 6 in; sheet: 11 3/4 in x 8 in. A cloaked figure confronts a woman with two children seated on a bed. The cloaked figure is at right appears to be someone with a large light-colored sheet draped over themselves. Light shines on their back from the right. The mother and two children cower at lower left, the children’s faces showing fear. The mother looks up at the cloaked figure clutching the children. The upper third of the etching is darkly shaded. The words “Que Viene el Coco” appear at bottom.

Francisco de Goya (Spanish, 1746–1828), Mucho hay que chupar (There is plenty to suck), plate 45, etching; Se repulen (They Spruce Themselves Up), plate 51, etching; Linda maesra! (Pretty teacher!), plate 68, etching; Que viene el coco (Here Comes the Bogey-Man), plate 3, etching with aquatint; from the series Los Caprichos. Gift of Susan Schulman and Carolyn Bullard in honor of Mary Weaver Chapin, 2019.69.1; Museum Purchase: Amanda Snyder Art Purchase Fund, 2019.68.4,5,3

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