Francisco de Goya

Cannibals Contemplating Human Remains (Caníbales contemplando restos humanos)

Cannibals Contemplating Human Remains (Caníbales contemplando restos humanos)
Datos Generales
Ca. 1798 - 1800
Musée des Beaux- Arts et d’ Archéologie de Besançon, Besançon, France
32 x 47 cm
Técnica y soporte
Óleo sobre madera
Reconocimiento de la autoría de Goya
Documented work
Musée des Beaux-Arts et d’Archéologie de Besançon
Ficha: realización/revisión
12 May 2010 / 14 Apr 2021

Both this work and its companion piece, Cannibals Preparing their Victims, belonged to the painter Jean François Gigoux (Besançon, 1806-Besançon, 1894), who bequeathed them to the Musée des Beaux-Arts et d'Archéologie in his home town.

Análisis artístico

A cannibal sitting astride a rock holds up a human hand and a man's head like a pair of trophies. On the ground we can see more human remains, which the artist has drawn our attention to by means of energetic red brushstrokes. Meanwhile, other cannibals sat in front of and behind the central figure look on. The scene is set in a natural, rocky landscape, with the branch of a tree emerging from the darkness on the right-hand side.

Goya has painted the figures on that side of the central figure in an undefined manner, like some kind of living mass, from which no individual person clearly emerges. The faces of the figures are depicted in more detail but their features are primitive, almost simian in appearance. It is likely that the painter's intention was to highlight the barbarism of certain human actions, in this case the practice of cannibalism.

This work can be related to some of the prints in the Disasters of War series of etchings, such as no. 39, Great deeds! With dead bodies!, in which corpses and dismembered bodies have been hung from the branches of a tree.

For more information, see Cannibals Preparing their Victims.


  • Peintures de Goya des collections de France
    Musée de l’Orangerie
  • Goya
    Ministry of Foreing Affairs
    organized by the Bordeaux City Hall, consultant editor Gilberte Martin-Méry. From May 16th to June 30th 1951
  • Goya
    Prado National Museum
    July 1951
  • De Tiépolo à Goya
    Galerie des Beaux-Arts
    consultant editor Gilberte Martin-Méry. From May 7th to July 31st 1956
  • Goya
    Musée Jacquemart-André
    consultant editor Jean-Gabriel Domergue. From December 1961 to February 1962
  • Goya and his times
    The Royal Academy of Arts
    cat. 66
  • Goya
    Koninklijk Kabinet van Schilderijen Mauritshuis
    The Hauge
    organized by Ministerio de Estado y Asuntos Culturales and Réunion des Musées Nationaux, July 4th to September 13th 1970. Exhibited also at the Musée de l’Orangerie des Tuileries, Paris, October 25th to December 7th 1970, consultant editors Jeannine Baticle and A. B. de Vries
  • Goya. El Capricho y la Invención. Cuadros de gabinete, bocetos y miniaturas
    Museo Nacional del Prado
    from November 18th 1993 to February 15th 1994. Exhibited also at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, March 18th to June 12th 1994 and The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, July 16th to October 16th 1994, consultant editors Manuela B. Mena Marqués and Juliet Wilson-Bareau
  • Goya: Prophet der Moderne
    Alte Nationalgalerie
    from July 13th to October 3th 2005. Exhibitied also at the Kunsthistorischemuseum, Vienna, October 18th 2005 to January 8th 2006, consultant editor Manuela B. Mena Marqués
  • Goya en tiempos de guerra
    Museo Nacional del Prado
    consultant editor Manuela B. Mena Marqués, from April 14th to July 13th 2008
  • GASSIER, Pierre y WILSON, Juliet
    Vie et ouvre de Francisco de Goya
    ParísOffice du livre
    p. 263, cat. 923
  • vol. I, pp. 322 y 323, cat. 476
  • ANGELIS, Rita de
    L’opera pittorica completa di Goya
    p. 117, cat. 409
  • WILSON-BAREU, Juliet
    Goya. El capricho y la invención. Cuadros de gabinete, bocetos y miniaturas
    MadridMuseo del Prado
    pp. 288, 289, 290 y 291 (il.), cat. 83
  • Joan Sureda Pons
    Los mundos de Goya (1746-1828)
    il. p. 246
Enlaces externos
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