Popular music and dance, as portrayed in street festivities and at fairs, make up the fourth section of the exhibition. In these works we can observe Goya's precise technique when portraying dance steps and musical instruments.
1. To the Sound of Castanets
Depictions of dancing, which was considered to stimulate amorous relations, served to warn of the vanity of sensual pleasures, as in the country dances portrayed by David Teniers the Younger, which also make reference to the decent and domestic life of women. In the eighteenth century, dancing also encouraged flirting between persons of unequal status, such as the couple consisting of a lady married to a "majo" in the Romería by Camarón Bonanat. In Goya's Baile a orillas del Manzanares ("Dance on the Banks of the Manzanares"), a "maja" flirts with a soldier, hoping to gain something more out of life. The hidden implications of this pictorial theme are bitingly summarised in Goya's Disparate alegre ("Merry Folly"), in which various beautiful women incite a number of old men at a grotesque dance.
2. The Ladle Game
Half game and half dance, La gallina ciega ("Blind Man's Bluff") presents a circle of players, "majos" and nobles who are swerving and spinning away to avoid the young man with the ladle whose eyes are covered like Cupid and who must identify the person who is touched. In this work, Goya highlights the themes of deception and seduction, as well as the mixing of the social classes, although the "majos" may well be nobles who have dressed up in popular costume. The girl whom the searcher loves, hidden behind the lady with the hat, was repainted later on and appears in the sketch that is exhibited in the second section. Rubens' work, which depicts a wild amorous dance involving coupled peasants and gods played out to the tune of the flute held by a shepherd in a tree, may have served as Goya's model, together with the flirtations revolving around the god, Pan, in Lucas Fayd'herbe's work.
3. "The Parnassus of the Passions"
The image of a musician with a string instrument, like Apollo on Mountain Parnassus inspiring the poets with his lyre, has symbolised the ideas of perfect harmony and beauty since Antiquity. Given that the string can be broken, this motif can also signify vanity, as in Niño tocando un laúd ("Boy Playing the Lyre") where the boy's eyes lifted to heaven, nevertheless, announce the divine harmony that exists in the beyond. The musician, who is also identified with a sanguine temperament, illustrates the two opposing faces of love. The musician depicted by Ramón Bayeu reflects the unhappy love of a lady in the background with all the languid sentimentality characteristic of the time. Goya's musician, however, sings with veritable ardour, as if bewildered by the love that he appears to experience in all its facets, searching in vain for help from above.
4. Blind Minstrels
The blind minstrel has a long tradition in the history of art, with one example being the painting by Georges de La Tour. His musician playing the hurdy-gurdy is far removed from the traditionally brutal beggar depicted in the style ofLazarillo de Tormes, acquiring the austere nobility of the ancient philosophers, a theme of seventeenth century painting. Goya leans towards a sombre figure, with his blind man's guide, a character who was ever present at popular and Court festivities. He attracts a varied crowd with his love ballads and ballads relating crimes that capture the morbid attention of a young lady. Ramón Bayeu leans towards a character of melancholy beauty, such as the companion, perhaps a soldier whose war wounds have caused his sad plight.
5. The Pipe and Drum
Goya resorts to music and the beat of the drum in various cartoons, such as Muchachos jugando a soldados ("Boys Playing at Soldiers"), in order to express feelings of public merriment. On the bill for the work entitled Ciego de la guitarra ("The Blind Guitarist"), the artist described his instrument as a "vihuela", a predecessor of the guitar typical of the sixteenth century. The instrument that appears in Baile a orillas del Manzanares ("Dance on the Banks of the Manzanares") is clearly a guitar, replete with its six strings. The "dulzainas" or clarinet-like flutes in La boda ("The Wedding") and Los zancos ("Stilts"), made of wood with metal reinforcements, had a sweet yet penetrating sound that could be heard above the hustle and bustle of the street, but in Pastor ("Shepherd Playing a Dulzaina"), the instrument is excessively long and could have been invented by Goya, being based on the tibia of the Classical Period in order to accentuate the bucolic ambience of The Seasons, the series to which this work belongs.