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Who will win?
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

Who will win?

1816 - 1820. Wash, Indian ink on dark yellow laid paper. Not on display

This work corresponds to Album E, one of seven albums or series of drawings that Goya created over the course of his life. This album is also known as the “black borders” album, due to the distinctive thick lines that frame each scene. The style, solid compositions and figures, clothing and hairstyles, as well as allusions to the Penninsular War (1808-1814) in some scenes, date the drawings from Album E from the postwar period, between 1816 and 1820. These drawings stand out for their figures often sculptural monumentality, which is emphasized by the black borders and the central importance of the characters. Presented individually or in small groups, they appear in luminous spaces that vary from sketchy landscapes barely defined with a few brushstrokes to more abstract settings indicated by a single shadow. The subjects are quite varied—at times silent and meditative, at others, filled with drama—with scenes from the daily life of the most socially disadvantaged classes, such as beggars, wounded veterans and handicapped laborers. In these drawings, Goya generally imbues these classes with a power that threatens the order and harmony of the upper classes seeking to exclude them. A tussle between two women is the subject of the drawing ¿Quien bencerá? (Who will win)?. This drawing, which bears the numbers “36”, in Goya’s hand, and “42”, by Madrazo, is one of those that has a study related to the final composition on the other side, although in this case, the women’s postures, movements and clothing have a classical character. In the definitive drawing, the protagonists are fight in a setting that is closed at the left and back by a wall on whose corner Goya has placed a pitcher. As his inscription indicates, it is impossible to foresee who will win this fight, however at the moment captured in the drawing, the woman on the left seems to have the upper hand. Her position is more stable and her bare arm suggests greater strength as she gazes into her rival’s eyes with a combination of defiance and satisfaction. The woman on the right, however, knits her brow in desperation as she places her weight on her right leg, behind her, in an effort to maintain her balance. She is dressed differently than her opponent, whose clothing belongs to the working class. Her dark dress is closer to bourgeois fashion: it covers her entire body, including the bosom and arms, and its skirt reaches the floor and drapes over her delicate pumps. In contrast, the woman on the right wears a skirt short enough to reveal the plainer slippers characteristic of popular clothing, along with a short jacket that reveals her body’s sensual curves. The pitcher in the background, a traditional symbol of the fragility of female chastity and harmony, alludes to those ideals and their vulnerability to human weakness, offering an idea of the reason for the fight—most likely, the unfaithfulness of one of the young women’s partners. That wayward young man may well be the companion of the young woman on the right, who has come to the place shown in the drawing. The same pitcher appears in Goya’s tapestry cartoons, including Women carrying Pitchers, from 1791-1792 (Madrid, Museo del Prado), in which two young women and a young man carry the pitchers they have filled at the fountain—a customary place for amorous encounters—while the woman in the background offers the viewer the virtue of one of the younger women, which will break like the pitcher. The drawing presented here has a background quite similar to the one in the cartoon, with a predominance of orthogonal and diagonal lines. Here, however, a lateral wall enters from the left, along with a wedge of shadow that alternates bands of darkness and light, emphasizing the impetuous power of the women with her back to the viewer. Compared to the light preparatory sketch, the figures on the front are farther apart, separated by the undefined dark area between their legs that contrasts with the upper area of light shaped like a pitcher. In fact, the two women’s upper bodies reflect the same shape. The outcome of this struggle is “not visible”, as it does not depend on the two young women, but instead on the final choice of the unfaithful partner of one of them, According to Gassier, the enigmatic words, “no visible” (“not visible)” appear beneath the question “Who will win”?, although they are barely visible today. And they may well have a far wider meaning as, in the context of the other drawings, they could allude to the implicit power of the popular classes, which is “not visible” to the ruling class, but was already very strong by that period. (Text drawn from Maurer, G.: "Francisco de Goya. No es siempre bueno el rigor, h. 1816-20 / ¿Quién vencerá?, h. 1816-20", in No solo Goya. Adquisiciones para el Gabinete de Dibujos y Estampas del Museo del Prado 1997-2010, Museo del Prado, 2011, pp. 139-140).


Technical data

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Severity is not always good
Wash on dark yellow laid paper, 1816 - 1820
Inventory number
Goya y Lucientes, Francisco de
Who will win?
1816 - 1820
Wash; Indian ink
Dark yellow laid paper
Height: 258 mm.; Width: 184 mm.
Cuaderno E, 36
Javier Goya, Madrid, 1828; Mariano Goya, Madrid, 1854; Federico de Madrazo, Madrid, c. 1855-1860; venta Hôtel Drouot, París, 03-04-1877; Fiantance (?) o Fontaine (28 francos), París, 1877; Antonio María de Orléans, duque de Montpensier (?), castillo de Randan, Puy-de-Dôme, Francia, 1877; María Isabel de Orleáns, duquesa de Montpensier (?), Puy-de-Dôme, 1891; Fernando Francisco Felipe de Orleáns, duque de Montpensier (?), Puy-de-Dôme, 1919; María Isabel González de Olañeta e Ibarreta, duquesa viuda de Montpensier y marquesa de Valdeterrazo, Madrid, 1924; José María de Huarte y Jáuregui, marqués viudo de Valdeterrazo, Madrid, 1958; Alberto Huarte Myers, Pamplona, 1999; acquired by Museo del Prado, 2007

Bibliography +

Goya, 1746-1828, Delmas, Burdeos, 1951.

Francisco Goya y Lucientes 1746-1828: retrospective, Institut de France, Paris, 1961.

Gassier, Pierre, Dibujos de Goya: los álbumes, Noguer, Barcelona, 1973.

Museo Nacional del Prado, Memoria de Actividades 2007, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2008, pp. 20-22.

España. Ministerio de Cultura, Adquisiciones de bienes culturales 2007, Ministerio de Cultura, Subdirecci, 2009, pp. 159.

Payne, E, 'F de Goya. Old women fight too.( Bibblioteca Nacional)' En:, Goya. The Witches and Old Women Album, The Courtauld Gallery, Londres, 2015, pp. 110 f.65.

Matilla Rodríguez, José Manuel, Ligereza y atrevimiento. Dibujos de Goya, Fundación Botín, Santander, 2017, pp. 100 n.54.

Matilla, J.M. Mena M.B., Goya: dibujos. Solo la voluntad me sobra, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2019, pp. 353 nº 240.

Other inventories +

Inv. Nuevas Adquisiciones (iniciado en 1856). Núm. 2769.

Catálogo Goya, Pierre Gassier y Juliet Wilson. Núm. 1404.

Inscriptions +

Quién bencera?
Inscribed in pencil. 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 and more
05.05.2011 - 28.08.2011

Update date: 15-09-2021 | Registry created on 28-04-2015

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