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Devota profesion [Devout Profession], plate 70 from Los Caprichos

1797-1799 (p. 1890-1900)
18th century
34.3 cm x 24.3 cm (13 1/2 in. x 9 9/16 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, aquatint and drypoint
Credit Line: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Gift of the children of L.M. Tonkin, 1966
Accession Number: G1966.2.210

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 between society 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.

The Prado manuscript gives a detailed script of this scene of witchcraft: “Will you swear to obey and respect your masters and superiors, to sweep the garrets, to spin, to ring bells, to howl, to yell, to fly, to cook, to grease, to suck, to bake, to blow, to fry, everything and whatever time you are ordered to?” “I swear.” “Well then, my girl, you are now a witch. Congratulations.”

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