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Disparate general [General Folly], plate 9 from Los Proverbios

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Disparate general [General Folly], plate 9 from Los Proverbios

circa 1816-1824 (p. 1864)
19th century
33.7 cm x 50.2 cm (13 1/4 in. x 19 3/4 in.)

Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (aka Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes) (Fuendetodos, Spain, 1746 - 1828, Bordeaux, France) Primary

Object Type: print
Artist Nationality: Europe, Spanish
Medium and Support: Etching and burnished aquatint
Credit Line: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Teaching Collection of Marvin Vexler, '48, 1994
Accession Number: 1994.16

Goya began working on his last series of etchings around 1815. When he departed for Bordeaux in 1824, he left twenty-two plates with his son Javier. Eighteen of the plates were published for the first time in Paris in 1864 under the title of Los Proverbios—The Proverbs. The other four plates, which had been separated around 1844, were re-discovered in 1877 and published in the French journal L’Art. Since the word “disparate,” translatable as folly, appears in the captions that Goya himself inscribed on a group of working proofs, the series is alternately called Los Disparates. Their imagery is the most complex and their meaning the most illusive of Goya’s series. The broad themes are still those of the Caprichos, but reason seems to have been completely overwhelmed and the prints are full of nightmarish visions. This subject is one of the most obscure and difficult to interpret in the Proverbios. In the foreground a cleric kneels to receive a litter of kittens. On his right, an elderly man with a long beard is absorbed in reading. In the tangle behind, a female figure flies toward a suspended baby. In the left background, a dwarfish figure strides forward. If, as has been suggested, this figure refers to Napoleon, then the larger group could be a microcosm of Spain, caught up in tradition and confused by superstition

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