- The Prado National Museum. Madrid, Madrid, Spain
- 56.5 x 196.5 cm
- Técnica y soporte
- Oil on canvas
- Reconocimiento de la autoría de Goya
- Documented work
- El Prado National Museum
- Ficha: realización/revisión
- 16 Dec 2009 / 28 Mar 2023
This piece forms part of the series of cartoons that Goya made for the decoration of the king's conversation room in the palace of El Pardo. They were painted between May 1786, shortly after Goya was named royal painter, and the end of 1787. With this series Goya once again took up the work on the tapestry cartoons, six years after the last delivery, which was made before the closing and reopening of the tapestry factory.
This cartoon was included in the inventory carried out by Vicente López in 1834 for Ferdinand VII's will, when it was attributed to Francisco de Goya.
Around 1856 or 1857, the cartoon was moved from the Royal Tapestry Factory of Santa Bárbara to the Palacio de Oriente in Madrid, and it remained in the tapestry basements until, under orders given on 18 January and 9 February 1870, it was taken to the Prado Museum that same year. It remained rolled up in the museum's warehouse until 1984, when Mercedes Águeda recovered the work and lent her voice to the argument that attributed its authorship to Goya.
This overdoor piece is somewhat problematic. When it entered the collection of the Prado (it was probably Cruzada Villaamil who drew up the inventory of the newly acquired works) it was considered to lack artistic interest and it was not attributed to anyone. The work was then lost in the museum's collections until Sambricio included it - with some reservations - in his catalogue of tapestry cartoons by Goya, although he never had the opportunity to see it and he did not include a reproduction of the image. Based purely on the tapestry, the author added that the composition was really quite unfortunate and bore no resemblance to the technique of Goya. It was not until 1984 that Mercedes Águeda finally found the cartoon in the museum and once again insisted on Goya's authorship. Arnaiz agrees with Vicente López and Águeda and is of the opinion that the painting is entirely in keeping with Goya's style of painting.
However, the American writer Janis Tomlinson is absolutely opposed to attributing the work to Goya, arguing that its composition is completely mediocre, that there is no consistency between this work and the rest of the series, dedicated to the seasons, and that the first mention of the work's transfer to tapestry comes considerably later than that of the other overdoor cartoons made for the dining room. She adds that it may have been the work of a secondary artist who worked for the factory during the years in which Goya did not.
Furthermore, the dimensions of the work that were provided in the inventory of 1870, when it arrived at the Prado, were wrong. Neither does it match any of the stretchers included in the invoice from the carpenter, Serrano, unless the dimensions of one of these was also incorrect. In any case, the stretcher for this work's companion piece, Birds in Flight would still need to be accounted for. According to Águeda, both works would have hung on the same wall as The Snowstorm, whilst Sancho places it on the east wall, forming a pair with Birds in Flight.
During its storage in the basements of the Royal Palace, where it was kept rolled up, bearing weight and in damp conditions, the painting suffered considerable damage, affecting its condition.
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