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Universal Language. The Author dreaming
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

Universal Language. The Author dreaming

1797. Black chalk, Pencil, Iron gall ink on laid paper Not on display

International Language is the preparatory drawing for the well-known Capricho 43, The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters, and it bears the marks of having been transferred to the copper plate. The final composition presented here differs from the original idea, whose composition was more confused yet attractive, as its technique reflected the fire of creative passion in the rays of light emerging from the artist’s head as symbols of his imagination. The imaginary figures that constituted his artistic motifs merged with those rays, while Goya himself appears to dominate everything. He is accompanied by various animals, including the donkey that symbolizes ignorance, and other monstrous creatures, along with night birds: bats and owls. Goya depicted himself in the same manner in both drawings and in the etching: seated asleep at his desk, which is more abstractly rendered in the second drawing, presented here. The artist drew on multiple sources of inspiration for the presentation of his figure and position, including J. B. D. Duprée’s engraving after a drawing by Charles Monnet of Jean Jacques Rousseau for the frontispiece of the second volume of the latter’s Philosophie, published in 1793. But Goya’s work more closely resembles the frontispiece from the 1699 edition of Francisco de Quevedo’s Time for All and The Fortune with Brain, whose inscription refers to him as the author of the Dreams the certainly inspired Goya’s Caprichos. In the final etching, Goya modified the lighting. The large illuminated area in the upper left-hand corner of the drawing becomes crepuscular in the etching, and includes the presence of night birds. The desk also changes, becoming the solid block of stone on which the artist inscribes the strange new title: The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters, whose somewhat blurred letters almost seem to have been written in an evanescent thread of smoke, indicating the dream space in which Goya presented his scene. The drawing has two inscriptions, one of which refers to its original numeration as Dream no. 1. This corresponds to Goya’s original idea of calling the series Dreams, following Quevedo’s Dreams, which had been published between 1606 and 1621. Like the latter, Goya used the language of dream images to criticize social vices, beginning with scenes of pure fantasy involving witches, and continuing with more realistic scenes. Here, he has written a title for the print on the front of the desk: Universal Language. Drawn and Engraved by Fco. De Goya, year 1797. This indicates that the scene was originally intended as a frontispiece, and further down, it specifies the entire series’ thematic intentions: The author dreaming. His only intention is to banish prejudicial vulgarities and bear firm witness, with this work of fancy, to the truth. These words refer to the ideas that appear in the 80 plates that make up this work, as does the text of the advertisement published in the Diario de Madrid (February 6, 1799), which presented the Caprichos as "the multitude of quirks and blunders that characterize all civil societies." In the drawing, Goya is surrounded by the dark world that emerges from his dreams and hovers over his head. Toward the bottom, a lynx sits next to his chair in the same position as on the engraving, and it raises it pointy-eared head so that its shiny, attentive eyes stand out, symbolizing, as they did for Cesare Ripa in the early 17th century, visual acuity and, by extension, intellectual subtlety -fantasy’s companion. By the 18th century, the lynx also symbolized Reason, and the analytical gaze of the Enlightenment, which is capable of making the unseen visible [...]. One of the handwritten notations considered contemporary to this work -the one at the Museo del Prado- explains it from a conservative position according to which Goya had dedicated his imagination to the representation of this new and obscure aspect of human nature that lies beyond rational and orderly awareness and that had become irremediably visible following the French Revolution: "Fantasy without reason produces monsters, but with it, it becomes the mother of the arts." Other modern explanations accept that Goya imbued sleeping and dreaming Reason with qualities that were already attributed in the late 18th century to a creative imagination capable of "revealing to the eyes forms and postures that have, until now, only existed in the human mind, obscured and confused by the lack of enlightenment, or heated by unfettered passion." Such was Goya’s explanation in his advertisement for the sale of the Caprichos, and thus, through the world that the social order opened to the artist, he played his role in denouncing human and social vice. Universal Language is rendered with the same meticulous technique as all of the other Dreams, all of which are drawn with pen and iron gall ink. Originally black, they now have a slightly metallic appearance that has gradually attained a grayish chestnut tint. Goya’s refined precision in these preparatory drawings reveals how important it was for him to define each detail, and indeed, he precisely sets out both the scenes and the exact meaning of each. Besides the related works at the Museo del Prado, the Museum of Fine Arts of Boston has a state proof made before the additional etching of Caprichos 43 (etching and aquatint, 292 x 205 mm, no. H 78.I.2), while a steel-plated copper plate from the same series is at Calcografía Nacional in Madrid (218 x 152 mm, no. 3469). The transfer of the drawing’s image to the 217 x 152 mm copper plate has left the plate mark on the paper, which also bears 25 mm laid lines. This drawing appears in Gassier’s catalog of drawings as number II 39 (Text drawn from Mena Marqués, M., Ydioma Universal, 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, pp. 78-81, no. 3).

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Related artworks

The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters
Etching on ivory laid paper, 1797 - 1799
Inventory number
D003923
Author
Goya y Lucientes, Francisco de
Title
Universal Language. The Author dreaming
Date
1797
Technique
Black chalk; Pencil; Iron gall ink
Support
Laid paper
Dimension
Height: 248 mm.; Width: 172 mm.
Series
Caprichos [dibujo]. Serie Los Sueños, 43, 1
Provenance
Javier Goya 1828, Madrid; Mariano Goya 1854, Madrid; Valentín Carderera, c. 1861, Madrid; Mariano Carderera 1880; Museo Nacional del Prado, 1886.

Bibliography +

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Sánchez Cantón, Francisco Javier, Sala de los dibujos de Goya, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1928, pp. n.34.

Adhemar, J., Goya: exposition de l’oeuvre gravé, de peintures, de tapisseries et de cent dix dessins du Musée du Prado, Bibliotheques Nationales, París, 1935, pp. 41.

Hofer, Philipp, “Some undescribed states of Goya’s Caprichos”, Gazette des Beaux-Arts: courrier européen de l'art et de la curiosité, XXVIII, 1945, pp. 174-175.

Sánchez Cantón, Francisco Javier, Los Caprichos de Goya y sus dibujos preparatorios, Instituto Amatller de Arte Hispánico, Barcelona, 1949, pp. 43, 45 y 87.

Adhémar, Jean, The Caprices of Goya, A.Zwemmer, Fernad Hazan, Londres, 1951.

López-Rey, José, Goya's Caprichos: Beauty, Reason and Caricature, I, Princeton University Press, 1953, pp. 75-77, 80-81, 135-138.

Nordström, Folke, Goya, Saturn and Melancholy. Studies in the Art of Goya, Almqvist and Wiksell, Estocolmo, 1962.

Helman, Edith, Trasmundo de Goya, Revista de Occidente, Madrid, 1963.

Gassier, Pierre, Vie et oeuvre de Francisco de Goya: l' oeuvre complet illustré: peintures, dessins, gravures, Office du Livre, Fribourg, 1970, pp. nº 537.

Sayre, Eleanor, The Changing Image. Prints by Francisco Goya, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Estados Unidos), 1974, pp. 98-105.

Gassier, Pierre, Dibujos de Goya. Estudios para Grabados y Pinturas, II, Noguer, Barcelona, 1975, pp. 76.

Lafuente Ferrari, Enrique, Los Caprichos de Goya, Gustavo Gili, Barcelona, 1978, pp. 120.

Sayre, Eleanor, Goyas ''Spanien, tiden och historien'' : en allegori över antagandet av 1812 ars spanska förtattning, Nationalmuseum, Estocolmo, 1980, pp. 7.

Stuffmann, M., Goya. Zeichnungen und Druckgraphik, Stadelschen Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt Am Main, 1981, pp. 64-65.

Sullivan, Edward J., Goya and the Art of His Time, The National Endowment For the Art, Dallas, 1982, pp. 123.

Pita Andrade, José Manuel, Goya y la Constitución de 1812, Ayuntamiento de Madrid, Madrid, 1982, pp. nº 7.

López Vázquez, José Manuel B., Los Caprichos de Goya y su interpretación, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Santiago De Compostela, 1982, pp. 167-176.

Clark, Jane, The Great Eihgteenth Century Exhibition in the National Gallery, The National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 1983, pp. 176.

Helman, Edith, Trasmundo de Goya, Alianza Editorial, Madrid, 1983, pp. 167-169.

Goya: nuevas visiones : homenaje a Enrique Lafuente Ferrari, Amigos del Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1987, pp. 197-205.

Quintana, A., Goya y el Espiritu de la Ilustracion, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1988, pp. 229-231, nº 51.

Goya and the spirit of enlightenment, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1989, pp. 113.

Nordström, Folke, Goya, Saturno y melancolía: estudios sobre el arte de Goya, Visor, Madrid, 1989, pp. 141-160.

Bozal, Valeriano, “Los Caprichos: el mundo de la noche”, en Francisco de Goya, grabador : instantáneas, Caser: Calcografía Nacional, Madrid, 1992, pp. 25-28.

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

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Goya: en tiempos de guerra, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2008, pp. 168.

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Mena Marqués, Manuela B., “Ydioma Universal”, en Goya: luces y sombras, Fundación ''la Caixa'', Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2012, pp. 78-81.

Maurer, G, 'Los Sueños. El Amor dormido' En:, Mena Marques,Manuela B. Goya en Madrid : cartones para tapices 1775-1794, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2014, pp. 226-231 [226 f.6.3].

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Matilla Rodríguez, José Manuel, Ligereza y atrevimiento. Dibujos de Goya, Fundación Botín,, Santander, 2017, pp. 74 n.32.

Other inventories +

Colección Dibujos Goya (Numeración Sánchez Catón). Núm. 34.

Catálogo Goya, Pierre Gassier y Juliet Wilson. Núm. 537.

Catálogo Gassier, 1975. Núm. II 39.

Exhibitions +

Ligereza y atrevimiento. Dibujos de Goya
Santander
22.06.2017 - 30.09.2017

Goya: luces y sombras. Obras maestras del Museo del Prado
Barcelona
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
Tokio
22.10.2011 - 29.01.2012

Goya in Times of War
Madrid
15.04.2008 - 13.07.2008

Gesichter einer Sammlung - Faces of a Collection
Mannheim
01.04.2006 - 04.09.2006

Goya: la década de los Caprichos
Madrid
26.10.1992 - 10.01.1993

Update date: 09-10-2019 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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