Don Quijote Beset by Monsters, Francisco de Goya. Brush drawing in grey-brown ink and wash, 207 x 144 mm, c. 1812 - 1820 © The Trustees of the British Museum 1862,0712.188

Goya died in Bordeaux at the age of eighty-two leaving a body of work remarkable for its imagination, artistic vision and profound humanity. Through his drawings he explored fantasy, beliefs and human conduct and often grouped these works into series in order to explore more complex themes. Goya witnessed major social and political changes ranging from the terrible effects of the Inquisition to the French occupation. The independence of his political thought, his criticism of superstition and his rejection of intellection oppression reflect the ideas of the Age of Enlightenment.

Although his dedication to graphic art makes him an exception, he was far from being a ‘misunderstood genius’ and his work should be interpreted in the context of the scientific, social and artistic development that was taking place in the 18th century.

Goya expressed his most intimate thoughts in his albums, which are rich samplers of his imagery and provide an outstanding insight into his personal world and creative process. He made drawings for all his prints and carried on drawing until the end of his life with a steady hand and boundless imagination.

 
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