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At the height of their flight, the haughty witches are cast down
Goya y Lucientes, Francisco de
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Goya y Lucientes, Francisco de

Fuendetodos, Zaragoza (Spain), 1746 - Bordeaux (France), 1828

Goya y Lucientes, Francisco de See author's file

At the height of their flight, the haughty witches are cast down

1796 - 1797. Pencil, Iron gall ink, Black chalk lines on laid paper Not on display

A preparatory drawing for the etching, Capricho 62, Who could believe it! (G02150). Together, the twenty-six pen-and-ink drawings that constitute the basis for The Caprichos are known as The Dreams. The first, Dream 1, The Author Dreaming, became number 43 in the Caprichos. This was a common subject during that period. The composition of Dream 10 is practically the same as that of the etching, Capricho 62 (G2150), except for the animal towards the bottom. In the original conception of the Dreams, the present drawing was the last of a group of nine representations of witches that began with Trials (G02148. Drawing D04202), which depicts a witch’s initiation into the art of flying. The preparatory drawing for this print bears the inscription At the height of their flight, the haughty witches are cast down. The scene presented in the drawing seems linked to the expulsion from Paradise, and the witches’ haughtiness (as indicated in the inscription) would thus resemble the character of Adam and Eve that led to their fall. Here, witches caught up in the same pleasures—though more violently here—as in the later print, are attacked by a furious cat who casts them down to a vast and barren landscape running back to the horizon, where they will be forced to return to the drudgery they had abandoned in Trials (G02148, D04202). In the print, however, the cat has been replaced by a bear whose figure derives from the wild animals that devoured sinners on the lower margins of popular medieval depictions of the Last Judgment. The Dreams group that depicts lessons in witchcraft and closes with the fall into Hell seems to present an inverted version of the sublime idea of the Path of Virtue, along which humanity can recover the perfection lost through Original Sin. Here, witches that have clearly mastered the art of flying—a metaphor for the deadly sin of lechery—challenge a jealous cat that symbolizes female seduction. In response, that cat banishes them from the idyllic heights of witchcraft and casts them into Hell. The Museo del Prado has a series of works related to Dream 10 (G02150/G00653), and there is a steel-plated copper plate from the same series at Madrid’s Calcografía Nacional (209 x 153 mm, 381.60 g. No. 3488). (Text from: Maurer, G. Quien lo creyera!, in Matilla, J.M. and Mena Marqués, M. (dir.), Goya: Luces y Sombras, Barcelona, Fundación La Caixa –Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2012, p. 174).


Technical data

Related artworks

Quien lo creyera!
Etching on ivory laid paper, 1797 - 1799
Inventory number
Goya y Lucientes, Francisco de
At the height of their flight, the haughty witches are cast down
1796 - 1797
Pencil; Iron gall ink; Black chalk lines
Laid paper
Height: 244 mm.; Width: 171 mm.
Caprichos [dibujo]. Serie Los Sueños, 62, 10
Javier Goya, Madrid, 1828; Mariano Goya, Madrid, 1854; Valentín Carderera, Madrid, c. 1861; Mariano Carderera, Madrid, 1880; Museo del Prado, 12-11-1886.

Bibliography +

Gassier, Pierre, Vie et oeuvre de Francisco de Goya: l' oeuvre complet illustré: peintures, dessins, gravures, Office du Livre, Fribourg, 1970, pp. nº 576.

Gassier, Pierre, Dibujos de Goya. Estudios para Grabados y Pinturas, II, Noguer, Barcelona, 1975, pp. 86.

Glendinning, Nigel, Goya, la década de los Caprichos : retratos 1792-1804, Real Academia Bellas Artes San Fernando, Madrid, 1992, pp. 282.

Matilla, José Manuel, El Libro de los Caprichos: dos siglos de interpretaciones 1799-1999. Catálogo de los dibujos, pruebas de estado, láminas de cobre y estampas de la primera edición, Museo Nacional de Prado, Madrid, 1999, pp. 319.

Matilla, José Manuel, Estampas españolas de la Guerra de la Independencia: propaganda, conmemoración y testimonio, Universidad de Salamanca, 2008.

Maurer, Gudrun, ''Quien lo creyera!'', en Goya: luces y sombras, Fundación ''la Caixa'', Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2012, pp. 174.

Payne, E, 'F de Goya. Bajan riendo (They descend quarreling) (private collection)' En:, Goya. The Witches and Old Women Album, The Courtauld Gallery, Londres, 2015, pp. 80-81 f.50.

Other inventories +

Colección Dibujos Goya (Numeración Sánchez Catón). Núm. 37.

Catálogo Goya, Pierre Gassier y Juliet Wilson. Núm. 576.

Catálogo Gassier, 1975. Núm. II 49.

Exhibitions +

Goya: la década de los Caprichos
26.10.1992 - 10.01.1993

Update date: 02-05-2019 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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