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The Old Women are filled with laughter because they know he hasn’t a penny
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 Old Women are filled with laughter because they know he hasn’t a penny

1796 - 1797. Indian ink wash, Brush, Pencil, Iron gall ink on laid paper. Not on display

This preparatory drawing for the etching Capricho 5, Two of a Kind (G02093) is part of The Dreams, a series of twenty-six pen-and-ink drawings that serve as the basis for the Caprichos in the first stage of its creation. The subject matter was common in depictions of that period. At first glance, the preparatory drawing might seem to be a simple genre scene—a lady being courted by a gentleman while two older women converse behind them—but the upper-class appearance of both the woman’s clothing (a mantilla and black shawl, a silk lace garment covering her head and shoulders; and a long, pleated skirt), and that of her suitor (a frock-coat, hat and short sword), indicate that nothing is what it seems. Despite the fact that the scene takes place outdoors, probably on Madrid’s Paseo del Prado—a customary meeting place for that city’s society in the 18th century, when strolling had become a new form of socializing—Goya’s critical intentions extend beyond a mere depiction of courtship. The Dreams were a means of conveying criticism that reflects the ideology of the Enlightenment, and here, Goya uses light to draw the eye to what he considers most relevant: the malicious laughter of the two old women (in the print, they are actually pointing their fingers, and wear a rosary that identifies them as procuresses), the woman being courted—the light brings out one side of her face, her breasts, elbow, fan and foot—and the man’s face. These procuresses were intermediaries for prostitution and lascivious communication. The woman who openly exposes herself holds the fan in her left hand, which signifies approach, and turns the tip of her foot outwards in what is identified by a manuscript from 1807 as a vulgar prostitute’s gesture. Thus, Dream 19 should not be interpreted from the standpoint of courtship, but rather, from that of prostitution. Dressed like ladies, these women made contact on the Paseo del Prado and rendered service on the nearby side streets. Here, the man is one of the fashionable fops ridiculed in poetry of that period. A bon vivant, he is actually impoverished, as is confirmed by the drawing’s caption: he hasn’t a penny. The handwritten commentary to Capricho no. 5 at the Museo del Prado clarifies the Enlightenment approach to this scene, insisting on a gender equality quite modern in its conception in light of the traditional blame assigned to women: both their vices stem from the same poor upbringing, and wherever men are perverse, women will be so as well. The young woman in this print is just as intelligent as the dandy who is chatting her up. As for the two old women: each is as vile and detestable as the other. This equality is reflected by the title of Capricho 5, Two of a Kind, which is drawn from a 17th-century proverb, one of whose versions in Spanish translates as: The whore and the thug: two of a kind. The Museo del Prado has a first edition of Capricho 5 (G02093), while the Biblioteca Nacional has a preliminary brush-and-India ink drawing from Album B, 5 or the Madrid Album. There is a state proof prior to the application of aquatint in the Rosenwald collection at the National Gallery in Washington D.C. (257 x 183 mm, H 40. I.1), and there is also a steel-plated copper plate from the same series at Calcografía Nacional in Madrid (200 x 151 mm, 341.64 g. No. 3431). The mark of the plate is visible on the drawing as a result of its tracing on the copper plate (200 x 151 mm), as are vertical laid lines (Text from: Blas, J., Sueño 19. Las viejas se salen de risa porque saben que él no lleva un cuarto, in Matilla, J. M. and Mena Marqués, M. (dir.), Goya: Luces y Sombras, Barcelona: Fundación La Caixa, Barcelona: Obra Social La Caixa-Madrid: Museo Nacional del Prado, 2012, p. 118, no. 16).


Technical data

Related artworks

Two of a Kind
Etching on ivory laid paper, 1797 - 1799
Inventory number
Goya y Lucientes, Francisco de
The Old Women are filled with laughter because they know he hasn’t a penny
1796 - 1797
Indian ink wash; Brush; Pencil; Iron gall ink
Laid paper
Height: 246 mm.; Width: 186 mm.
Caprichos [dibujo]. Serie Los Sueños, 5, 19
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. 11, n.27.

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 460.

Gassier, Pierre, Dibujos de Goya. Estudios para Grabados y Pinturas, II, Noguer, Barcelona, 1975, pp. 91.

Stuffmann, Margret, Goya. Zeichnungen und Druckgraphik, Stadelschen Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt Am Main, 1981, pp. nº L6.

Glendinning, Nigel, Goya, la década de los Caprichos. Retratos 1792-1804, Real Academia Bellas Artes San Fernando, Madrid, 1992, pp. 118.

Permanencia de la memoria: cartones para tapiz y dibujos de, Gobierno de Aragón, Departamento de Educación y Cu, Zaragoza, 1997, pp. 167.

Blas, J., Matilla, J.M., Medrano, J.M., 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. 118.

Tomlinson, Janis, Goya: Images of Women, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 2002, pp. 263.

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

Goya: luces y sombras. Obras maestras del Museo del Prado, The Yomiuri Shimbun, Tokyo, 2011, pp. 106-107.

Matilla, J.M. Mena M.B., Goya: dibujos. Solo la voluntad me sobra, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2019, pp. 352 nº 239.

Other inventories +

Colección Dibujos Goya (Numeración Sánchez Catón). Núm. 27.

Catálogo Goya, Pierre Gassier y Juliet Wilson. Núm. 460.

Catálogo Gassier, 1975. Núm. II 54.

Inscriptions +

Inscribed. Front, upper central area

Inscribed. Front, lower left corner

Las Viejas se salen de risa pr. qe. / saben qe el, no lleba un quarto
Inscribed. Front, lower central area


Exhibitions +

Goya: Dibujos del Museo del Prado. Melbourne
25.06.2021 - 03.10.2021

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

Goya: luces y sombras. Obras maestras del Museo del Prado
15.03.2012 - 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

Tres mitos españoles: la Celestina, el Quijote y Don Juan
19.02.2004 - 14.04.2004

Goya´s Image of Women
Washington D.C.
10.03.2002 - 02.06.2002

Permanencia en la memoria . Cartones para tapices y dibujos de Goya
14.02.1997 - 06.04.1997

Goya: la década de los Caprichos
26.10.1992 - 10.01.1993

Displayed objects +


Update date: 14-10-2021 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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