Height: 217.000 mm
Width: 151.000 mm
Accepted in lieu of estate duty from the estates of Tomás and Hilda Harris
Prints and Drawings
Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes, Self-portrait, an etching
Spain, first published AD 1799
The first plate from the etching series Los Caprichos
Goya has depicted himself in profile with a proud expression and engraved his name and occupation below the image. He has described himself as Pintor ('Painter') rather than as a printmaker. He was no doubt proud of having been made Principal Painter to the Spainish king in 1799; the same year that this print was published. This self-portrait is the first plate in a set of eighty known as Los Caprichos (The Fantasies). It acts as a silent title page, without printed explanation, to the following images that satirise the vices and follies of contemporary Spanish society.
Despite being a successful society portrait painter, Goya had become increasingly inclined, as he confided in a letter to a friend, to 'make observations for which there is normally no opportunity in commissioned works which give no scope for fantasy and invention.' This introspective mood, captured in this self-portrait, was partly caused by a severe illness which had left him permanently deaf in 1793.
J. Wilson-Bareau, Goyas prints (London, The British Museum Press, 1981, R 1996)
P. Gassier and J. Wilson, The life and complete works of (New York, 1971)