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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. Etching, Burnisher on ivory paper.
Not on display

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
Red chalk on laid paper, 1814 - 1815
Goya y Lucientes, Francisco de
Inventory number
Goya y Lucientes, Francisco de
Truth has died
1814 - 1815
Etching; Burnisher
Ivory paper
Height: 176 mm; Width: 221 mm
Desastres de la guerra [estampa], 79
Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid; Eduardo Luis Moreda Fernández; Museo del Prado, 2000

Bibliography +

Brunet, M.G., Étude sur Francisco Goya sa vie et ses travaux, Aubry, Paris, 1865, pp. 59.

Yriarte, Charles, Goya: sa biographie, les fresques, les toiles, les tapisseries, les eaux-fortes et le catalogue de l' oeuvre, Henri Plon, Paris, 1867, pp. 39, 40, 119.

Viñaza, Cipriano Muñoz y Manzano Conde de la, Goya: su tiempo, su vida, sus obras, Tip.M.G.Hernández, Madrid, 1887, pp. 399.

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

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

Lafuente Ferrari, Enrique, Goya: el dos de mayo y los fusilamientos de la Moncloa, Juventud, Barcelona, 1946, pp. 12.

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

Harris, Tomas, Goya, engravings and lithographs, II, Bruno Cassirer, Oxford, 1964, pp. 291.

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. 291.

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

Sayre, Eleanor, Goya. España, Tiempo e Historia, Allegori over antagandet av 1812 ars spanska, Museo Nacional de Estocolmo, Estocolmo, 1980, pp. 42.

Pita Andrade J.M. y Alvarez Lopera J., Goya y la constitución de 1812, Ayuntamiento, Delegación de Cultura, Madrid, 1982, pp. 26.

Armstrong Roche M., Murió la verdad, Goya y el espíritu de la Ilustración, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 1988, pp. 448.

Vega, Jesusa, Fatales consecuencias de la guerra.Francisco de Goya, pintor, Francisco de Goya, grabador: instantáneas, Caser y Calcografía Nacional, Madrid, 1992, pp. 48.

Vega, Jesusa, Museo del Prado: catálogo de estampas, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1992, pp. 99.

Blas, Javier y Matilla, José Manuel, El libro de los desastres de la guerra : Francisco de Goya, Museo Nacional del Prado, Calcografía Nacional, Madrid, 2000, pp. 157-159.

Calvo Serraller, Francisco (dir.), Goya: la imagen de la mujer, Fundación Amigos del Museo del Prado, Madrid, 2001, pp. 318.

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. 468.

Bozal, Valeriano, Francisco Goya: vida y obra, II, T.F., Alcobendas (Madrid), 2005, pp. 127.

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

Matilla, J.M., Murió la verdad, Goya: en tiempos de guerra, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2008, pp. 346.

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. 238.

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

Other inventories +

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

Inscriptions +

Front, upper left corner

Título de la estampa
Front, lower central area

Exhibitions +

The invited work: Farideh Lashai
30.05.2017 - 10.09.2017

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado
16.12.2012 - 31.03.2013

Portrait of Spain. Masterpieces from the Prado
Brisbane, Australia
21.07.2012 - 04.11.2012

Update date: 22-11-2021 | Registry created on 26-11-2015

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