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Nadie se conoce [Nobody Knows Himself], plate 6 from Los Caprichos

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Nadie se conoce [Nobody Knows Himself], plate 6 from Los Caprichos

1797-1799 (p. 1890-1900)
18th century
34.1 cm x 24.5 cm (13 7/16 in. x 9 5/8 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 Leo Steinberg Collection, 2002
Accession Number: 2002.1423

The earliest of Goya’s four major print series by more than decade, the Caprichos were created in 1797-98. Free inventions, thus “caprices,” their eighty plates comment upon the tension betweensociety and the individual, between ideals and realities, between belief and reason. Injustice, hypocrisy, and superstition are Goya’s principal targets; caricature, satire, and sarcasm his favorite weapons. In addition to the printed titles, a manuscript in the Prado Museum purportedly written by Goya elucidates the meaning of individual prints. The imagery of the Caprichos is rich with references, from established iconography to folk literature, songs, and sayings. But the series is above all original in the modern sense: the product of an individual and unfettered imagination. The Caprichos are also the first great demonstration of the expressive possibilities of aquatint, which had previously been used for reproducing the appearance of drawings. First published in 1799 they along with the Tauromaquia were the only series released during the artist’s lifetime. Retaining the plates, the Royal Academy in Madrid issued eleven more editions between 1855 and 1937, making the Caprichos the most widely circulated and best known of Goya’s prints.

Revelers in costume celebrate Carnival. Whether hidden by mask, obscured by shadow, or averted, no face is clearly visible. Goya writes, “The world is a masquerade. Face, dress and voice, all are false. All wish to appear what they are not, all deceive and do not even know themselves.”

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