Francisco de Goya

The one with the rollona

The one with the rollona
Datos Generales
Ca. 1797 - 1798
209 x 157 mm
Técnica y soporte
Etching and burnished aquatint
Reconocimiento de la autoría de Goya
Undisputed work
Ficha: realización/revisión
10 Nov 2010 / 19 Jun 2023

The one on the rollona (in the lower part)

 P.4. (in the upper right-hand corner)


See Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, Painter.

There is a state proof that has manuscript in pen and ink, before the lettering, What a brutish man I am. In another proof Goya wrote the final title in pencil. Some stamps were thrown away in which the word "rollona" appeared with a y instead of an ll. Later the change was made and in the rest of the engravings the word appears written with an "ll".

A preparatory drawing is preserved in the Prado Museum.

Análisis artístico

In the centre of the image, Goya depicts an adult man wearing children's clothes, a chichonera and a girdle-belt. From the belt hang a badger, a shearing and the book of the Gospels, all of which are frequently used as amulets to ward off the evil eye. The figure's attitude reinforces his childish character, as he sucks one of his fingers. In the background, in the semi-darkness, we can make out the figure of a servant who pulls the child, whose whims and caprices he must be aware of.

The light focuses on the figure of the adult dressed as a child, whom he rescues from the darkness. It reveals his face and the position of his hands next to his mouth, as well as the belt from which the amulets hang. It also shows two objects in the background, a cauldron of food and a cushioned toilet, which allude to the character's main concerns.

Ayala's manuscript states of this image that "the children of the great gorge themselves on food, suck their thumbs and are always little boys, even with beards, and so they need footmen to carry them with walkers". The Prado Museum's own author points out that "negligence, tolerance and the same make children whimsical, obstinate, arrogant, greedy, pernicious and insufferable; they grow up to be grown-ups and are still children. Such is the Rollona". The one in the National Library, which best explains Goya's work, notes that "The children of the Greats are always brought up like little children, sucking their thumbs, gorging themselves on food, dragged along by their lackeys, full of superstitious sayings, even when they are already bearded".

The starting point for this image could be a folkloric motif that appears in the short plays of the 17th and early 18th centuries. Likewise, in the Treasury of the Castilian or Spanish Language of 1610, by Sebastián de Covarrubias (Toledo, 1539-1613), the proverb "el niño de la Rollona que tenía siete años y mamaba" (the Rollona's child who was seven years old and sucked) is referred to. Continuing with this proverb, the author says that "there are some boys who are so good that even though they are grown up, they do not know how to leave their mothers' laps; they turn out to be great fools or great vicious fools". The Rollona boy is also mentioned in the manuscript of proverbs compiled in 1627 by Gonzalo Correas (Jaraíz de la Vera [Cáceres], 1571-Salamanca, 1631), a professor of Greek and Hebrew at the University of Salamanca. This work remained unpublished until the end of the 18th century when it was taken up by the Royal Academy, which included some of the expressions noted by Correa in its Dictionary of the Castilian Language. In it, the child of the Rollona was defined as "a nickname for a "tocho" or "ronzero".

This print should be interpreted as a clear satire of the education received by the children of noble families or some members of the royal family. They were often treated in a manner that did not correspond to their true age in an attempt to prolong their childhood and were constantly and constantly assisted by servants and lackeys who suffered their whims. They were protected with amulets and their heads were filled with superstitions.


The plate, which is kept at the National Chalcography (no. 175), is in rather poor condition, with the aquatint and etching rather weakened.

  • Goya. Gemälde Zeichnungen. Graphik. Tapisserien
    Kunsthalle Basel
    from January 23th to April 12th 1953
  • Goya y el espíritu de la Ilustración
    Museo Nacional del Prado
    from October 6th to December 18th 1988. Exhibited also at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, January 18th to March 26th 1989; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Nueva York, May 9th to July 16th 1989, Madrid curator Manuela B. Mena Marqués, scientific directors Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez and Eleanor A. Sayre
  • Goya. La década de Los Caprichos
    organized by Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando sponsored by Fundación Central Hispano, Madrid, consultant editor Nigel Glendinnig. From October 26th 1992 to January 10th 1993
  • Francisco de Goya
    Museo d'Arte Moderna
    exhibition celebrated from September 22nd to November 17th.
  • Francisco Goya. Sein leben im spiegel der graphik. Fuendetodos 1746-1828 Bordeaux. 1746-1996
    Galerie Kornfeld
    from November 21st 1996 to January 1997
  • Francisco Goya. Capricci, follie e disastri della guerra
    San Donato Milanese
    Opere grafiche della Fondazione Antonio Mazzotta
  • Goya e la tradizione italiana
    Fondazione Magnani Rocca
    Mamiano di Traversetolo (Parma)
    consultant editors Fred Licht and Simona Tosini Pizzetti. From September 9th to December 3th 2006
  • Goya. Opera grafica
    Pinacoteca del Castello di San Giorgio
    exhibition celebrated from December 16th 2006 to April 1st 2007
  • Goya e Italia
    Museo de Zaragoza
    organized by the Fundación Goya en Aragóna, consultant editor Joan Sureda Pons. From June 1st to September 15th 2008
  • Goya et la modernité
    Pinacothèque de Paris
    from October 11st 2013 to March 16th 2014
  • HARRIS, Tomás
    Goya engravings and lithographs, vol. I y II.
    OxfordBruno Cassirer
    p.74, cat.39
  • GASSIER, Pierre y WILSON, Juliet
    Vie et ouvre de Francisco de Goya
    ParísOffice du livre
    p.176, cat. 457
  • GLENDINNING, Nigel (Comisario)
    La década de los Caprichos. Retratos 1792-1804
    MadridReal Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando
    pp.81-83, cat. 49
  • SANTIAGO, Elena M. (coordinadora)
    Catálogo de las estampas de Goya en la Biblioteca Nacional
    MadridMinisterio de Educación y Cultura, Biblioteca Nacional
    p.76, cat. 92
  • BLAS BENITO, Javier, MATILLA RODRÍGUEZ, José Manuel y MEDRANO, José Miguel
    El libro de los caprichos: dos siglos de interpretaciones (1799-1999). Catálogo de los dibujos, pruebas de estado, láminas de cobre y estampas de la primera edición
    MadridMuseo Nacional del Prado
  • POU, Anna
    Francisco Goya. Los Caprichos
    BarcelonaEdiciones de la Central
  • OROPESA, Marisa and RINCÓN GARCÍA, Wilfredo
    ParísPinacoteca de París
    p. 202
    Goya. In the Norton Simon Museum
    PasadenaNorton Simon Museum
    pp. 42-75
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