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Truth has died
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

Truth has died

1814 - 1815. Red chalk on laid paper.
Not on display

A preparatory drawing for Disaster 79, Truth has died. This scene, along with Disaster 80, Will she live again?, marks the end of the series of engravings that constitute the first edition of the Disasters of War (1863). Despite the apparent disorder visible in this series, it has an inner logic that presents the subjects more or less in groups, using titles to link the images and creating sequences in which the artist uses narrative tools to develop his moral proposals about the perversity of war. The last three prints from the Emphatic Caprichos—the group that constitutes the series’ final works—maintain its allegorical character but are distanced from the previous prints’ function as fables. This sequence’s political content is clear. Truth has died shows the recumbent body of a bare-breasted young woman dressed in white and glowing with a light that allows us to see the expressions of the figures participating in her burial. Over the course of the Disasters, Goya uses the female body—sometimes with a markedly sensual character—to convey the tragedy of war. Here, he presents it as an allegory of Truth, which illuminates everything. Justice appears at her right, dressed in a similar manner and lamenting her loss. On the other hand, a bishop wearing a miter appears to be blessing her cadaver while two monks, hoes in hand, contentedly prepare to dig her grave. Behind them, numerous clergymen look on with greater or lesser interest, including a blindfolded man leaning on a cane. The criticism of the Church is clear here, and we can interpret it politically as a reference to the restoration of their privileges after the Decree of May 4, 1814 abolished the Constitution of 1812. This image’s link to the following print is determined by the question posed in the latter’s title: Will she live again? Given the ironic character of many of Goya’s titles, we may well conclude that the hopefulness attributed to it by some writers is improbable, and that, instead, it should be understood in terms of the skepticism that characterizes much of the artist’s final work. Moreover, were Truth ever to live again, it would be surrounded by the creatures of the night—also present in that image—that symbolize the Ancien régime and would use their laws and power to finish her off and thus keep mankind, including the man sketchily depicted behind her, bound and gagged (Text from: Matilla, J. M.: Desastre 79. Murió la Verdad/ Desastre 80. Si resucitará? in: Goya en tiempos de Guerra, Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2008, pp. 346-348).


Technical data

Related artworks

Truth has died
Etching, Burnisher on ivory paper, 1814 - 1815
Goya y Lucientes, Francisco de
Inventory number
Goya y Lucientes, Francisco de
Truth has died
1814 - 1815
Red chalk
Laid paper
Height: 148 mm; Width: 204 mm
Desastres de la guerra [dibujo], 79
Javier Goya, Madrid, 1828; Mariano Goya, Madrid, 1854; Valentín Carderera, Madrid, c. 1861; Mariano Carderera, Madrid, 1880; Museo del Prado, 1886.

Bibliography +

D'Achiardi, Pierre, Les Dessins de D. Francisco de Goya y Lucientes au Musée du Prado à Madrid, D. Anderson, Roma, 1908.

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

Mayer, August L., Francisco de Goya, Labor, Barcelona, 1925, pp. 231.

Sánchez Cantón, Francisco Javier, Sala de los dibujos de Goya, II, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1928, pp. 28, n.176.

Lafuente Ferrari, Enrique, Los desastres de la guerra de Goya y sus dibujos preparatorios, Instituto Amatller de Arte Hispánico, Barcelona, 1952, pp. 75, 189.

Sánchez Cantón, Francisco Javier, Los dibujos de Goya reproducidos a su tamaño y en su color. Estudios para Los Caprichos, Los Desastres de la guerra, La Tauromaquia y dibujos no grabados, I, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1954, pp. 139.

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 1133.

Salas, Xavier de, El Arte de Goya, Ministerio de Auntos Exteriores, Tokio, 1971, pp. nº176.

Gassier, Pierre, Dibujos de Goya. Estudios para grabados y pinturas, II, Noguer, Barcelona, 1973, pp. 307.

Sayre, Eleanor A., The Changing Image. Prints by Francisco Goya, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1974, pp. nº176.

Derozier, C., La Guerre D'Independance Espagnole a Travers L'Estampe (1808..., II, Universidad de Lille, Lille, 1976, pp. 964.

Salas, Xavier de, Goya Das Zeitalter Der Revolution 1789-1830, Prestel Verlag: Kunsthalle, Múnich - Hamburgo, 1980, pp. 153.

Lafuente Ferrari, Enrique, Goya: dibujos, Silex, Madrid, 1980, pp. 46.

Goya y la constitución de 1812, Ayuntamiento, Delegación de Cultu, Madrid, 1982, pp. nº26.

Blas, Javier, El libro de los desastres de la guerra Francisco de Goya, Museo del Prado: R.A.B.A.S.F., Madrid, 2000.

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

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

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 Y Madrid, 2009, pp. 238.

Other inventories +

Catálogo Gassier, 1975. Núm. II 227.

Colección Dibujos Goya (Numeración Sánchez Catón). Núm. 176.

Catálogo Goya, Pierre Gassier y Juliet Wilson. Núm. 1133.

Inscriptions +

Inscribed. Back, Upper area

"42" (repasado)
Inscribed. Front, lower left corner

Exhibitions +

Temporary Installation: Constitutional ideas in Goya's work
10.05.2012 - 17.09.2012

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

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