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The butterfly bull. Fiesta in the air. They fly and fly
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

The butterfly bull. Fiesta in the air. They fly and fly

1825 - 1828. Black chalk, Lithographic crayon on grey laid paper.
Not on display

This drawing brings together several recurring themes found in his work: the impossible dream of flying, the duality of the bullfighting world between the festive and the tragic, and the scenes of absurdity. With its legs spread out awkwardly and unstable, gifted with light butterfly wings and a visible penis, the bull hangs in the air, as a metaphor for both, human instability and the fickleness of fortune. The bull is being watched by caricatured faces, also with butterfly wings, that laugh mockingly.

Sketchbooks G and H were produced in Bordeaux, probably simultaneously or very close to one another in time, as evidenced by their formal, stylistic and technical similarity. In them, Goya gave free rein to his capacity for invention based on specific events he had experienced, such as the popular characters seen on the streets of Paris and Bordeaux, and to his pure imagination. Goya depicts the most significant issues presented over the course of his career, but in this case the changes the tone from satirical to grotesque: the falsehood of humanity, inequality, poverty, irrationality and the violence of individuals and of society. Most of the drawings in Sketchbook G include handwritten titles. Goya introduced the use of crayon in these albums. This occurs in coincidence to his interest in lithography and his practice of that procedure in Bordeaux.

Matilla Rodríguez, José Manuel, Ligereza y atrevimiento. Dibujos de Goya, Santander, Fundación Botín, 2017, p.128 n.76; 198-199 n.76


Technical data

Inventory number
Goya y Lucientes, Francisco de
The butterfly bull. Fiesta in the air. They fly and fly
1825 - 1828
Black chalk; Lithographic crayon
Grey laid paper
Height: 192 mm; Width: 153 mm
Cuaderno de Burdeos I o Cuaderno G, 53

Bibliography +

Mayer, A. L., Dibujos desconocidos de Goya, ARTE ESPAÑOL / REVISTA ESPAÑOLA DE ARTE, 11, 1933, pp. 384.

Goya and his times: Royal Academy Winter Exhibition, Royal Academy of Arts in London, Londres, 1963, pp. nº200.

López-Rey, J., Goya at the London Royal Academy, Gazette des beaux-arts, 63-64, 1964, pp. 359-369.

Gassier, P., Dibujos de Goya. Vol. I: Los Álbumes, Barcelona, 1975, pp. nºG53.

Wilson-Bareau, Juliet, Goya Drawings From His Private Albums, Hayward Gallery, Londres, 2001, pp. nº105.

Master Drawings from the Oppé Collection, CHRISTIE'S LONDON, 2006, pp. lote 62.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Memoria de Actividades 2006, Ministerio de Cultura, Madrid, 2007, pp. 38-40.

Goya: luces y sombras. Obras maestras del Museo del Prado, The Yomiuri Shimbun, Tokyo, 2011, pp. 280-281.

Museo Nacional del Prado, No solo Goya: adquisiciones para el Gabinete de Dibujos y Estampas del Museo del Prado: 1997-2010, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2011, pp. 149-152.

Stepanek S.L, 'Solo Goya. Crowds and swarms' En:, Goya: Order & Disorder, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 2014, pp. 318-327 [323 n.227].

Matilla Rodríguez, José Manuel, Ligereza y atrevimiento. Dibujos de Goya, Fundación Botín, Santander, 2017, pp. 128 n.76; 198-199 n.76.

Matilla, J.M. Mena M.B., Goya: dibujos. Solo la voluntad me sobra, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2019, pp. 303 nº 201.

Filigree +

Motive: Letras “RJ”

9 x 37 mm
26 mm.
Letras "RJ"
Probablemente, las letras "RJ" sean iniciales de uno de los herederos de la dinastía Jardel, familia papelera establecida en la comarca del Périgord (Francia), alguno de cuyos miembros, como R. Jardel, empleó a mediados del siglo XVIII como marca de agua la versión del escudo de armas de Ámsterdam (véase además, el modelo de filigrana: Corazón y escudo de Ámsterdam).

Other inventories +

Catálogo Goya, Pierre Gassier y Juliet Wilson. Núm. 1757.

Inv. Nuevas Adquisiciones (iniciado en 1856). Núm. 2754.

Inscriptions +

Inscribed. Front

Buelan Buelan
Inscribed. Front

el toro Mariposa
Inscribed. Front

Fiesta en el ayre
Inscribed. Front

Exhibitions +

Goya. Drawings. "Only my Strength of Will Remains"
20.11.2019 - 16.02.2020

Solo la voluntad me sobra. Dibujos de Francisco de Goya
19.11.2019 - 16.02.2020

Ligereza y atrevimiento. Dibujos de Goya
22.06.2017 - 30.09.2017

Goya. Light and Shade
16.03.2012 - 24.06.2012

Goya: luces y sombras. Obras maestras del Museo del Prado / Goya: Lights and Shadows. Masterpieces of the Museo del Prado
22.10.2011 - 29.01.2012

Goya. Light and Shade
22.10.2011 - 29.01.2012

No solo Goya. Adquisiciones para el Gabinete de dibujos y estampas del Museo del Prado 1997-2010
05.05.2011 - 28.08.2011

El Toro Mariposa
31.10.2007 - 03.02.2008

Update date: 07-07-2022 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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