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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 In the print, however, the cat has been replaced by a bear whose figure derives from the wild animals that devoured sinners on the lower margins of popular medieval depictions of the Last Judgment.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 CaixaMadrid, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2012, p. 174).


Technical data

Related artworks

Quien lo creyera!
Etching, Japanese chisel, Burnished aquatint on ivory laid paper, 1797 - 1799
Goya y Lucientes, Francisco de
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 +

Sánchez Cantón, Francisco Javier, Sala de los dibujos de Goya, II, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1928, pp. 13, n.37.

Gassier, Pierre y Wilson-Bareau, Juliet, 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.

Filigree +

Motive: Gran escudo con yelmo y letras “H C W” en el interior
Height: 126 mm
Width: 112 mm
Las iniciales que aparecen en esta filigrana corresponden al comerciante de papel holandés Hendrik Christiaan Wend (o Went), activo en Ámsterdam desde 1754. No debe extrañar que un comerciante tuviera su propia marca de agua, y no el productor, pues se conocen otros ejemplos coetáneos como el de I.B. Dabyds o el de Daniel Sebille.

La primera noticia documental sobre Hendrik Christiaan Wend es un contrato firmado con el citado Daniel Sebille, fechado el 11 de febrero de 1754, en el que ambos acordaban la fundación de la compañía Sebille & Wend. Daniel Sebille provenía de una importante familia holandesa de comerciantes de papel, y al igual que ellos ejerció el mismo oficio, primero como socio de Wend y desde 1776, junto a Van Ketel y Wassenbergh . Por su lado Wend, después de separarse de Sebille, se asoció con sus hijos bajo el nombre H.C. Wend & Zoonen. Esta compañía consta en el registro de comerciantes de Ámsterdam desde 1776 y en los sucesivos años hasta 1814 .

Heawood, Edward, Watermarks, mainly of the 17th and 18th centuries, Paper Publications Society, Hilversum (Holland), 1950, pp. pl. 500, n. 3735 [año 1790].
Voorn, Henk, De papiermolens in de provincie Noord-Holland, Papierwereld,, Haarlem, 1960, pp. 205, n. 163 [año 1788]..
Churchill, William Algernon, Watermarks in paper, in Holland, England, France, etc., in the XVII and XVIII centuries and their interconnection, B. De Graaf, Nieuwkoop, 1985, pp. 201 [D. Sebille & Wend, s.a.].
Biblioteca Nacional de España, Catálogo de las estampas de Goya en la Biblioteca Nacional, Biblioteca Nacional, Sociedad Estatal Goya 96 y Lunwerg, Madrid, 1996, pp. 303, n. 19 [D. Sebille & Wend, año h. 1791].

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.

Inscriptions +

10 [dudoso]
Inscribed. Front, upper central area

Inscribed. Front, Lower right area

15 [cortado]
Inscribed in pen and ink. Front, upper right corner

Inscribed in pen and ink. Back, left side

Inscribed in red color. Back, left side

Inscribed. Front, lower left area

De lo mas alto de su buelo son arrojadas las / soberbias Brujas
Inscribed. Front, lower central area

Exhibitions +

Goya: la década de los Caprichos
26.10.1992 - 10.01.1993

Update date: 22-11-2021 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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