Disparate conocido [Well-Known Folly], from Los Proverbios
circa 1816-1824 (p. 1828-1877)
27.7 cm x 37.5 cm (10 7/8 in. x 14 3/4 in.)
Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (aka Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes)
(Fuendetodos, Spain, 1746 - 1828, Bordeaux, France)
Medium and Support:
Etching and burnished aquatint
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Jack S. Blanton Curatorial Endowment Fund, 2007
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.
Threatened by a shrouded figure possibly holding a rifle and a shadowed one brandishing a sword, a group huddles while one offers a gleeful gesture of defiance. The great Goya scholar Tomás Harris associated this scene with the Spanish adage, “Dos a uno, meten la paja en el culo” [“If two to one, stuff your arse with straw”]. This is one of the four plates from the Proverbios that were re-discovered in 1877. A brilliant impression printed on thin Japanese paper, this proof precedes the first edition of these four additional plates.