Francisco de Goya

This is the worst!

This is the worst!
Datos Generales
Ca. 1820 - 1823
179 x 220 mm
Técnica y soporte
Etching and burnisher
Reconocimiento de la autoría de Goya
Undisputed work
Ficha: realización/revisión
03 Jan 2011 / 02 Jun 2023

On the sheet of paper on which the wolf writes you can read Misera humanidad la culpa es tuya. Casti.


See Sad forebodings of what is to come.

The title of the print was handwritten by Goya on the first and only series known to us at the time of its production, which the painter gave to his friend Agustín Ceán Bermúdez. Thus the title was subsequently engraved on the plate without any modification from Ceán Bermúdez's copy for the first edition of the Disasters of War published by the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando in Madrid in 1863.

In the proof of the first state, on the verso of the folio, the black ink spotting of engraving no. 78, It defends itself well, can be seen.

A preparatory drawing of this engraving is in the Prado Museum

Análisis artístico

In a landscape, a wolf, although it has sometimes been said to be a fox, sits on its hindquarters and writes on a parchment the following sentence: Miser humanity, the fault is yours. Casti. In front of him prostrates a friar who holds the inkwell and looks at him with devotion. He is surrounded by a large group of people with emaciated faces, perhaps as a result of hunger and war. On the right of the engraving two of them are dressed in rags and one has his hands tied with a rope.

In this case there is no doubt about the influence that the text by Giambattista Casti (Viterbo or Acquapendente, 1724-Paris, 1803) Gli animali parlanti (1801) had on the creation of this print, as Goya himself wrote a fragment of this work on the paper on which he wrote the animal in the scene. Gli animali parlanti was translated into Spanish in 1813 by Francisco Rodríguez de Ledesma and published by the Espinosa press. Although only two cantos were published, according to the title of the Spanish version, the work had been translated in its entirety: Animals talking. Epic poem divided into twenty-six verses, by Juan Bautista Casti. It might also be thought that Goya had read it all in Italian, of which he must have had a discreet knowledge thanks to his stay in that country (1769-1771). This print could be a representation of a poem from Canto XXI, where Goya changed the original word for "slave" to "wretch". In Casti's text, the prime minister in charge of starting the war is a fox, who in this print could be signing a decree with the approval of the Church, symbolised in the print by the friar holding the inkwell.

If it were a wolf, Goya would be referring to the cunning and ferocity with which the rulers convinced the people that all the misfortunes that had befallen them were their fault.


The plate is in the National Chalcography (cat. 325).

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    from October 11st 2013 to March 16th 2014
  • Expérience Goya
  • BERUETE Y MONET, Aureliano de
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  • HARRIS, Tomás
    Goya engravings and lithographs, vol. I y II.
    OxfordBruno Cassirer
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  • GASSIER, Pierre y WILSON, Juliet
    Vie et ouvre de Francisco de Goya
    ParísOffice du livre
    cat. 1122
    A solution to the enigma of Goya’s emphatic caprices nº 65-80 of The Disasters of War
  • SANTIAGO, Elena M. (coordinadora)
    Catálogo de las estampas de Goya en la Biblioteca Nacional
    MadridMinisterio de Educación y Cultura, Biblioteca Nacional
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  • OROPESA, Marisa and RINCÓN GARCÍA, Wilfredo
    ParísPinacoteca de París
    p. 156
    Goya. In the Norton Simon Museum
    PasadenaNorton Simon Museum
    pp. 114-151
  • COTENTIN, Régis
    Expérience Goya (cat. expo)
    LilleRéunion des Musées Nationaux
    pp. 169-170
Enlaces externos
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