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I saw it
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

I saw it

1810 - 1814. Etching, Burin, Drypoint on wove paper. Not on display

The value of Goya’s war images is largely determined by their plausibility. This makes them visual referents for what happens in war. Neither their status as narrative nor the esteem in which they are currently held depend on whether or not they reflect lived experience, but at that time it must have imbued them with added value. Obviously, Goya could not have seen many of these events with his own eyes without risking his life, so we must conclude that he carried out an intellectual reconstruction on the basis of contemporary testimony. But it is equally certain that it is sometimes possible to consider these prints personal narratives of what he had seen, and the present work is the finest example of such an objective representation. Beginning with its title, I saw it, the image becomes a visual document of a witnessed event with Goya as its scribe, and this is reinforced by the following print, whose title reads: And this as well (Disaster 45). Goya did much the same in one of the most dramatic prints from his Tauromaquia, adding I saw it to the handwritten title of his depiction of The Death of the Mayor of Torrejón. Regardless of whether this was mere narrative artifice, Goya may well have seen what is presented here, as the flight of the civilian population before the advance of French troops was customary during the war years. Contemporaneous artists never showed these scenes in their prints, perhaps because they did not serve to commemorate any kind of heroism, however Goya found them especially interesting, and he went so far as to dedicate five consecutive prints to them (Disasters 41, 42, 43, 44 and 45), thus presenting yet another facet of the people’s suffering. These works also contain elements that appear throughout the series, including a woman risking her own life to protect her children from impending danger. She is presented in a positive manner, in a luminous space that contrasts with the intensely defined figures in the shadows to her left, which are rendered with red chalk in the drawing, and etching in the engraving. A detailed analysis of both figures in the drawing reveals critical aspects of the population. Goya contrasts the woman and her children with society’s ruling class, those who first fled, leaving the defenseless population behind: the Church, represented by a priest; the landowners and municipal authorities, symbolized by the figure accompanying the clergyman. In his drawing, Goya characterizes the priest as an obese coward carrying the treasured ecclesiastical ornaments on his head. In the print, he makes the point even clearer by replacing the bundle on the priest’s head with a bag of money on his lap. Clergyman fleeing in panic also appear in earlier prints from this series, where members of diverse religious orders are shown traversing the countryside, escaping either the French advance or the disentailment decreed by the government of Joseph I. While the Disasters are characterized by the marked presence of human figures -they tend to occupy almost the entire composition, isolated from the minimally defined spaces around them- the background landscapes occasionally play a relevant role in defining their contexts. The present drawing and print are fine examples, calling for mention of the place from which the people are fleeing: a country house on the right, over which the ruins of a characteristic medieval castle preside. The latter’s barely erect towers somehow constitute a further allusion to the association of war with destruction (Text drawn from Matilla, J. M.: Yo lo ví, in: Goya en tiempos de Guerra, Madrid: Museo Nacional del Prado, 2008, p. 298).


Technical data

Related artworks

I saw it
Red chalk on laid paper, 1810 - 1815
Inventory number
Goya y Lucientes, Francisco de
I saw it
1810 - 1814
Etching; Burin; Drypoint
Wove paper
Height: 161 mm; Width: 239 mm
Desastres de la guerra [estampa], 44
Acquisition, 2000

Bibliography +

Brunet, M.G., Étude sur Francisco Goya sa vie et ses travaux, Aubry, Paris, 1865, pp. 54.

Viñaza, Cipriano Muñoz y Manzano Conde de la, Goya: su tiempo, su vida, sus obras, Tip. M.G. Hernández, Madrid, 1887, pp. 384.

Delteil, Loys, Francisco Goya, I, Chez L'Auteur, Paris, 1922.

Mayer, August L., Francisco de Goya, Labor, Barcelona, 1925.

Lafuente Ferrari, Enrique, Goya: el dos de mayo y los fusilamientos de la Moncloa, Juventud, Barcelona, 1946, pp. 21.

Lafuente Ferrari, Enrique, Los desastres de la guerra de Goya y sus dibujos preparatorios, Instituto Amatller de Arte Hispánico, Barcelona, 1952, pp. 26, 66, 166.

Harris, Tomas, Goya, engravings and lithographs, II, Bruno Cassirer, Oxford, 1964, pp. 242.

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.

Sayre, Eleanor, The Changing Image. Prints by Francisco Goya, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1974, pp. 185.

Derozier, C., La Guerre D'Independance Espagnole a Travers L'Estampe (1808..., II, Universidad de Lille, Lille, 1976, pp. 907.

Wolf, R., Onlooker, Withness, and Judge in Goya´s Disaster of War, Fatal Consequences : Callot, Goya and the Horrors of War, Dartmouth College, Hannover, 1990, pp. 39.

Vega, J., Fatales consecuencias de la guerra. Francisco de Goya, pintor, Francisco de Goya, grabador: instantáneas, Caser y Calcografía Nacional, Madrid, 1992, pp. 27.

Vega, Jesusa, Museo del Prado: catálogo de estampas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1992, pp. 92.

Biblioteca NacionalEspaña, "Ydioma Universal": Goya en la Biblioteca Nacional, Biblioteca NacionalLunwerg, Madrid, 1996, pp. 207.

Cuenca M.L. Docampo J. y Vinatea P., Catalogo de las estampas de Goya en la Biblioteca Nacional, Biblioteca Nacional y Lunwerg, Madrid, 1996, pp. 161.

Blas J., Matilla J.M. y Aguilar I, El libro de los desastres de la guerra: Francisco de Goya, I, Museo Nacional del Prado y Calcografía Nacional, Madrid, 2000, pp. 184.

Vibolt Knudsen, Vibeke, Goya's Realism, Statens Museum For Kunst, Copenhague, 2000, pp. 178.

Obras adscritas al Museo Nacional del Prado en el año 2000, Boletín del Museo del Prado, XIX, 2001, pp. 200.

Nieto Alcaide, V., La guerra y lo imaginario en la pintura de Goya. En: Historias inmortales, Barcelona, 2003, pp. 319-329.

Calcografía Nacional (España), Calcografía Nacional: catálogo general, II, Calcografía Nacional, Madrid, 2004, pp. 464.

Bozal, Valeriano, Francisco Goya: vida y obra, II, T.F., Alcobendas (Madrid), 2005, pp. 89.

Wilson-Bareau J., Catalogue, Goya graveur, Chaudun y Paris musées, Paris, 2008, pp. 246.

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

Matilla J.M., Goya: en tiempos de guerra, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2008, pp. 298.

Bordes J., Matilla J.M. y Balsells S, Goya, cronista de todas las guerras: los ''desastres'' y la fotografía de guerra, Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno y Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria; Madrid, 2009, pp. 168.

Hofmann, Julius, Francisco de Goya: Katalog seines graphischen Werkes, Gesellschaft für vervielfältigende Kunst, Viena, 2014, pp. 91-145.

Filigree +

Motive: Venera e iniciales "J. [G. O.]" (mitad izquierda)
Height: 57 mm
Width: 22 mm
Marca de agua en forma de venera e iniciales "J. G. O." característica del papel fabricado por José García Oseñalde, establecido en La Cabrera, Guadalajara. En esta localidad existió fábrica de papel desde por lo menos 1733, como así es recogido por Eugenio Larruga en sus "Memorias políticas y económicas sobre los frutos, comercio, fábricas y minas de España...", de ese año y de 1746. Esta antigua fábrica de papel blanco debió de ser la que José García Oseñalde compró en 1847, junto a un molino de harina llamado "Los Heros", colindante entre las localidades de La Cabrera y Aragosa. La fábrica también debió conocerse con el nombre del molino de harinas, pues así consta en 1886, cuando la fábrica de papel sellado "Los Heros" era propiedad de Pedro García Oseñalde (véase: "El obispado de Sigüenza, ó sea Nomenclátor descriptivo, Geográfico y Estadístico de todos los pueblos del mismo, por un sacerdote de la diócesis", Zaragoza, 1886, p. 21 [Aragosa])

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. 280, fil. 22.
Fundación Lázaro Galdiano, Goya en la Fundación Lázaro Galdiano, Fundación Lázaro Galdiano, Madrid:, 1999, pp. 386-387, fil. 14-15.

Other inventories +

Inv. Nuevas Adquisiciones (iniciado en 1856). Núm. 2564.

Inscriptions +

Firma del artista
Front, left side

Front, lower left corner

Front, upper left corner

Título de la estampa
Front, lower central area

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

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