Francisco de Goya

Lazarillo of Tormes (El lazarillo de Tormes)

Lazarillo of Tormes (El lazarillo de Tormes)
Datos Generales
Ca. 1808 - 1810
Private collection, Madrid, Madrid, Spain
80 x 65 cm
Técnica y soporte
Oil on canvas
Reconocimiento de la autoría de Goya
Documented work
Private collection
Ficha: realización/revisión
21 Apr 2010 / 29 Jul 2014

X 25 (lower right-hand corner).


During the Spanish War of Independence, Goya produced some private works including this one, Majas on a Balcony, Maja and Celestina, and probably Time or The Old Women.

The work was inherited by Javier Goya when his mother died, according to the inventory of 1812 ("El lazarillo de Tormes, n.º twenty-five valued at 100 [reales]") and the inscription "X" for Xavier followed by the number which appears on the canvas. Baron Taylor bought the piece in 1836 for the King of France, Louis-Philippe I of Orleans. It was placed in the Spanish Gallery (Galerie Espagnole), leaving France when the king was dethroned. The painting was then sold at Christie's of London in 1853 for the price of 11.10 pounds (lot nº 171). It was later purchased by the Duke of Montpensier, son of Louis-Philippe I, who was married to the Infant Luisa Fernanda, Isabel II's sister, and left to the family lawyer, Caumartin. It was registered as being in his possession until 1867. In 1902 it was located in the Maugeau collection. The canvas was sold in Bordeaux in 1923 to the Marquis of Amurrio, who then left it to Doctor Gregorio Marañón. It was later inherited by its current owners.

Análisis artístico

This work had traditionally been identified by the title Diphtheria (La Curación del garrotillo), since this disease at the time was thought to be cured by cauterizing the throat. However, the mention of the 16th-century picaresque novel by an anonymous author in the inventory of Goya's possessions corrected this interpretation of the subject.

The painting depicts a dark, interior scene, lit by the flames of a fire, featuring a dishevelled man and half-naked boy with his clothes in tatters. The man, his eyes closed, grips the boy between his legs and supports his head firmly with his hand while he puts his fingers down the boy's throat. The boy expresses his pain and the discomfort of the situation in his eyes, gazing upwards. The image represents the scene in the novel in which the villainous blind man's guide has substituted the longaniza sausage which the blind man had given him to cook with for a turnip, and is being smelled by his cruel master to prove whether he has eaten it.

The characters are represented realistically, and their shabby clothing is depicted in great detail. However, the subject is also suited to the inclusion of a measure of comedy and irony, and accordingly the figures are somewhat caricatured. The setting for the scene does not require any details to make the action intelligible, and for this reason Goya has only included the fire and a line or two which suggest depth.

  • Notice des tableaux de la Galerie Espagnole exposés dans les salles du Musée Royal au Louvre
    Galerie Louise Philippe
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    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
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  • Goya. Gemälde Zeichnungen. Graphik. Tapisserien
    Kunsthalle Basel
    from January 23th to April 12th 1953
  • Goya
    Festival Internacional de Granada, Palacio de Carlos V
    consultant editor Enrique Lafuente Ferrari
  • Francisco de Goya. IV Centenario de la capitalidad
    organized by Ayuntamiento de Madrid and Dirección General de Bellas Artes at the Casón del Buen Retiro
    consultant editor Valentín de Sambricio
  • 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
  • La Galerie Espagnole de Louise Philippe
    Musée du Louvre
  • De Greco á Picasso. Cinq siècles d’art espagnol
    Musée du Petit Palais
    from October 10th 1987 to January 3th 1988
  • Goya
    consultant editors Juan J. Luna and Görel Cavalli-Björkman. From October 7th 1994 to January 8th 1995
  • Goya en las colecciones españolas
    Sala de Exposiciones del BBVA
    consultant editor Juan J. Luna. From December 14th 1995 to February 17th 1996
  • 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
  • Goya
    Jeannine (comisaria) Baticle and A. B. (comisario) Vries
    vol. I, p. 352, cat. 585
    Ministère d’Etat-Affaires culturelles y Réunion des Musées Nationaux
  • Vie et ouvre de Francisco de Goya
    Juliet Wilson and Pierre Gassier
    pp. 256, 266, cat. 957
    Office du livre
  • L’opera pittorica completa di Goya
    Rita de Angelis
    p. 122, cat. 484
  • Francisco de Goya, 4 vols.
    José Camón Aznar
    vol. III, p. 191
    Caja de Ahorros de Zaragoza, Aragón y Rioja
  • Goya en tiempos de guerra
    Manuela B. (comisaria) Mena Marqués
    p. 254, cat. 66 y p. 255 (il.)
    Museo Nacional del Prado
Enlaces externos
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