- Place made
- Madrid; published 1799, Madrid
- Geographical location
- Madrid, Spain
- etching, burnished aquatint on paper
- 1st edition
- Harris (1968) 161 II, first edition
21.0 x 15.0 cm (plate)
31.0 x 21.8 cm (sheet)
19.1 x 13.7 cm (image)
- Credit line
- South Australian Government Grant 1980
- Accession number
- Signature and date
- Not signed. Not dated.
- Samuel Rogers (b.1763-d.1855); John Chaloner Smith (b.1827-d.1897) Dublin; William Rothenstein (1894-1945), London, owned 1894-1945; Laurie Deval & Percy Muir (1945-c.1979), owned 1945-c.1979; purchased by the Gallery from Frederick Mulder & Christopher Mendez, London, owned 1979-80.
- Catalogue raisonne
- Del. 63 i/ii; Harris 61 III first edition
- Media category
- Collection area
- European prints
In the late 1790s Francisco Goya, Spain’s leading painter, turned to printmaking as an outlet for more personal and imaginative subjects. Los caprichos, the first of his four great etched series, uses fantasy and satire to draw attention to human follies and vices. The images, which resist clear interpretation, extend the tradition of etched capriccio, no doubt inspired by Giambattista Tiepolo’s Scherzi di fantasia.
Created in a climate of political instability, Goya’s eighty plates also provide veiled social criticism of the times, alluding to greed, corruption, foolishness and evil, particularly amongst the clergy and aristocracy. In this respect Goya may have been encouraged by British satirical prints.
They’ve already got a seat is one of the more amusingly absurd images from Los caprichos. Young girls with petticoats and chairs on their head are oblivious to the laughter of men in the background. It seems to refer to the silliness of some young girls and may be an ironic play on the Spanish expression “sentar la cabeza” (to seat one’s head) which meant to be sensibly organised.
Goya, like Dürer and Rembrandt, is one of the great printmakers in Western art, and like the latter explored dark tonality in his etchings. Los caprichos is remarkable for his mastery of the relatively new medium of aquatint to create heightened chiaroscuro effects.
Julie Robinson, Five Centuries of Genius: European Master Printmaking, Adelaide: Art Gallery of South Australia, 2000, p.76.
Five Centuries of Genius: European Master PrintmakingArt Gallery of South Australia, 5 May 2000 – 2 October 2000
Dark Visions: the etchings of GoyaArt Gallery of South Australia, 30 August 1996 – 10 November 1996Dunedin Public Art Gallery, 20 September 1997 – 30 November 1997Waikato Museum of Art and History, 12 January 1998 – 28 February 1998Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, 9 April 1998 – 24 May 1998Rockhampton Art Gallery, 5 June 1998 – 26 July 1998Cairns Art Gallery, 7 August 1998 – 20 September 1998Art Gallery of New South Wales, 30 September 1998 – 29 November 1998