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.

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Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes, Self-portrait, an etching

Self-portrait (1799)


More information


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)


Height: 217.000 mm
Width: 151.000 mm

Museum number

PD 1975-10-25-420


Accepted in lieu of estate duty from the estates of Tomás and Hilda Harris


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