Francisco de Goya

Two Old Men (Dos viejos)

Two Old Men (Dos viejos)
Datos Generales
Ca. 1820 - 1823
The Prado National Museum. Madrid, Madrid, Spain
142.5 x 66 cm
Técnica y soporte
Oil painting on plaster transferred to canvas
Reconocimiento de la autoría de Goya
Undisputed work
El Prado National Museum
Ficha: realización/revisión
26 Oct 2010 / 14 Apr 2021

See Leocadia.

Análisis artístico

This painting was situated on the right of the door on the ground floor of the house known as the Quinta del Sordo.

It shows a bearded, elderly man leaning on a cane while a brutish character shouts in his ear. The old man is reminiscent of a similar figure that appears in the drawing I am Still Learning (Aún aprendo).

Some experts such as Nordström or Salas identify this figure as the artist himself: though it is not a self-portrait, the figure in the painting is elderly, and Goya was well into his seventies at the time.

This work is a companion to the painting on the other side of the door, Leocadia, creating a contrast between the young woman and the old man. Salas and other authors also link this work to that opposite it, Saturn Devouring One of His Children, since Saturn is traditionally associated with old age and melancholy.

Nordström suggests that the figure who is shouting in the ear of the old man is a reference to Goya's deafness, while other historians - including Fuster - believe this to be a diabolical image that shows nothing more than the cracks in Goya's own personality, the internal struggle between the outer appearance of a gentle old man and the indefatigable character within.

As is the case of the majority of the Black Paintings, this work was painted on a black ground, executed in a violent style with very impasto brushstrokes such as those used to denote the old man's long beard.


The painting had to be restored in 1973 due to its poor state of conservation following the transfer to canvas carried out by Salvador Martínez Cubells. It was restored once more in 1987 by Rocío Dávila.

Part of the ground must have been lost when it was removed from the wall, since a section from the upper part of the painting is missing.

  • Pinturas Negras en la Exposición Universal de París
    Palacio del Trocadero
    from may 20th to November 10th 1878
  • Goya. 250 Aniversario
    Museo Nacional del Prado
    consultant editor Juan J. Luna. From March 29th to June 2nd 1996
  • Charles Yriarte
    Goya, sa vie, son œuvre
    ParísHenri Plon
    pp. 140
  • Aureliano de Beruete Y Moret
    Goya. Composiciones y figuras, t.II
    Madridedición compendiada por Francisco Javier Sánchez Cantón: Madrid, Blass, 1928
  • Antonio F. Fuster
    Goya. Las Pinturas Negras
    MadridGoya Hispano-Inglesa de Reaseguros, D.L.
    pp. 112-113
  • GASSIER, Pierre y WILSON, Juliet
    Vie et ouvre de Francisco de Goya
    ParísOffice du livre
    p. 328, cat. 1627
  • vol. I, p. 379, cat. 705
  • Xavier Salas
    BarcelonaCarroggio S.A. de Ediciones
    p. 201, cat. 589
  • Priscilla E. Muller
    Goya's Black Paintings: Truth and Reason in Light and Liberty
    New YorkHispanic Society of America
    pp. 193-202
  • NORDSTRÖM, Folke
    Goya, Saturno y melancolía. Consideraciones sobre el arte de Goya
  • José Manuel Arnáiz
    Las pinturas negras
    MadridEdiciones Antiquaria, S.A
    pp. 92-93
  • Margarita Moreno De Las Heras
    Goya. Pinturas del Museo del Prado
    MadridMuseo Nacional del Prado
    pp. 326-327
  • Paulina Junquera
    Las Pinturas Negras de Goya
    LondonScala Publishers Ltd.
    pp. 58-59
Enlaces externos
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