Francisco de Goya

Datos Generales
1777 - 1778
The Prado National Museum. Madrid, Madrid, Spain
269 x 285 cm
Técnica y soporte
Oil on canvas
Reconocimiento de la autoría de Goya
Documented work
El Prado National Museum
Ficha: realización/revisión
18 Nov 2009 / 16 Jul 2015
14 (P00774)

This work forms part of the series of ten cartoons of country themes for tapestries designed to decorate the dining hall of the Prince and Princess of Asturias in the palace of El Pardo. Together with this cartoon, Goya delivered three more from the series: Card Players, Boys Inflating a Bladder and Boys Picking Fruit. They were made between 12 August 1777, the date of the previous delivery of cartoons to the Royal Tapestry Factory, and 26 January 1778, the date of this delivery.

Around 1856 or 1857, the cartoon was moved from the Royal Tapestry Factory of Santa Bárbara to the Royal Palace in Madrid. In 1870, it was taken to the Prado Museum under orders given on 18 January and 9 February.

Análisis artístico

The tapestry of this cartoon occupied the central portion of the north wall of the dining hall.

The composition of this work responds to the pyramid arrangement recommended by Mengs, a model that Goya had employed with success in other pieces in this series and which he would continue to use later. The work has a foreground with figures forming a pyramid, plus a second intermediate plane with figures that are semi-hidden by a mound and a background landscape, as in the pair of overdoor works, The Parasol and The Drinker.

and The figures in this leisure scene show a humanist approach that was to become one of Goya's defining characteristics. Four majos are flying a kite whilst a fifth sits smoking a cigarette. Other figures look on whilst another man only has eyes for the girl before him.

Attempts were made to identify the location as the hill of El Rastro, in Madrid, and the domed construction that appears in the background as San Francisco el Grande - by the architect Francesco Sabatini - when it was still in construction. However, this is impossible since in another cartoon in the series, Dance on the Banks of the Manzanares, delivered on 3 March 1777, Goya depicted this same building completely finished.

Elsewhere, it has been suggested that this building could be the observatory, the construction of which was being discussed at the time in the court of Charles III. The hypothesis of the observatory also adds weight to Tomlinson's reading of this cartoon, relating it to vanitas iconography and the futility of human knowledge. The kite, symbol of scientific experimentation, fits perfectly with this interpretation.

  • El arte de Goya
    Museo de Arte Occidental de Tokio
    from 16th 1971 to January 23th 1972. Exhibited also at the Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, January 29th to March 15th 1972.
  • Goya
    Palacio de Pedralbes
    from April 12th to June 30th 1977
  • Goya. 250 Aniversario
    Museo Nacional del Prado
    consultant editor Juan J. Luna. From March 29th to June 2nd 1996
  • Goya en Madrid. Cartones para tapices 1775-1794
    Museo Nacional del Prado
  • L'œuvre peint de Goya. 4 vols
    Xavier Desparmet Fitz-Gerald
    vol. I, p. 66, cat. 7
  • Tapices de Goya
    Valentín de Sambricio
    pp. 102, 212, cat. 16 y láms. 72-77
    Patrimonio Nacional
  • Vie et ouvre de Francisco de Goya
    Juliet Wilson and Pierre Gassier
    pp. 75, 86, cat. 81
    Office du livre
  • Goya, 1746 – 1828. Biografía, estudio analítico y catálogo de sus pinturas, 4 vols.
    José Gudiol
    vol. I, p. 246, cat. 69
  • L’opera pittorica completa di Goya
    Rita de Angelis
    pp. 94-95, cat. 76
  • Imagen de Goya
    Valeriano Bozal
    p. 69
  • Francisco de Goya, cartones y tapices
    José Manuel Arnáiz
    pp. 82-84, 152, 257, cat. 20C y 83 (il.)
    Espasa Calpe
    Col. Espasa Arte
  • Francisco de Goya, 4 vols.
    José Camón Aznar
    vol. I, p. 90 y p. 120 (il.)
    Caja de Ahorros de Zaragoza, Aragón y Rioja
  • Francisco de Goya. Los cartones para tapices y los comienzos de su carrera en la corte de Madrid
    Janis A. Tomlinson
    pp. 75-82, 86 y p. 77 (il.)
    Col. Ensayos de Arte Cátedra
  • Goya. 250 Aniversario
    Juan J. (comisario) Luna
    pp. 293-294, cat. 13 y p. 83 (il.)
    Museo del Prado
  • Salas del Palacio Real de El Pardo para las que se tejieron tapices sobre cartones de Francisco de Goya: identificación de las habitaciones y ajuste de las obras de Goya en los alzados de las paredes
    in HERRERO CARRETERO, Concha (curator, Tapices y cartones de Goya (catalogue of the exhibition organizated at the Palacio Real de Madrid, from may to june 1996)
    José Luis Sancho
    p. 166 (il.)
    Patrimonio Nacional, Goya 96, Lunwerg
  • Goya en Madrid. Cartones para tapices 1775-1794
    p. 291
    Museo Nacional del Prado
Enlaces externos
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