Francisco de Goya

The Cutting of a Woman’s Throat (La degollación)

The Cutting of a Woman’s Throat (La degollación)
Datos Generales
Cronología
Ca. 1800 - 1814
Ubicación
Private collection
Dimensiones
33 x 47 cm
Técnica y soporte
Oil on wood panel
Reconocimiento de la autoría de Goya
Documented work
Titular
Private collection
Ficha: realización/revisión
12 May 2010 / 01 Aug 2017
Historia

This work used to belong to the Countess of Villagonzalo and later entered the collection of Teresa Maldonado, Madrid.

Análisis artístico

This picture was painted as a companion piece to the work entitled The Bonfire and is related to the two paintings of cannibals in the fine arts museum of Besançon, Cannibals Preparing their Victims and Cannibals Contemplating Human Remains.

In the centre of the scene, a man is about to use a large knife to slit the throat of a naked woman, who is kneeling with her feet and hands bound, and who he is holding by the hair. The other figure in the scene, shown sitting on a rock, is contemplating, as if it were a trophy, the decapitated head of a man who has just been killed, and whose lifeless body is lying on the left-hand side of the scene surrounded by a pool of blood.

As in both Cannibals Contemplating Human Remains and Cannibals Preparing their Victims these acts are shown taking place in what appears to be a cave carved out of the rock. The faces of the murderers have been given simian features, in allusion to the primitive, violent instincts which have possessed them, whilst their dark complexions contrast strikingly with the immaculate white skins of their victims. In these works, Goya was reflecting upon the irrational dimension of the human mind, upon man's uncontrollable instincts, and was questioning the innate goodness of human beings in their primitive state.

There exists a replica of The Cutting of a Woman's Throat in the Prado Museum, painted on tinplate (29 x 41 cm) and donated to the museum in 1912 by the collector Cristóbal Férriz y Sicilia. The work now housed in the Prado was probably made by Goya for his own collection, whilst the one now belonging to the collection of Teresa Maldonado would have been sold. One of the few differences that can be appreciated between the two works is that, in the Prado piece, the scale of the figures is somewhat larger in relation to the overall size of the composition.

Exposiciones
  • Pinturas de Goya
    Museo Nacional del Prado
    Madrid
    1928
    consultant editor Fernando Álvarez de Sotomayor. From April to May 1928
  • El arte de Goya
    Museo de Arte Occidental de Tokio
    Tokyo
    1971
    from 16th 1971 to January 23th 1972. Exhibited also at the Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, January 29th to March 15th 1972.
  • Goya
    Koninklijke Musea Voor Schone Kunsten Van België
    Brussels
    1985
    consultant editor Luis González Seara. From October 26th to December 22nd 1985
  • Goya (1746 – 1828)
    Galleria Internazionale d’Arte Moderna di Ca’Pesaro
    Venecia
    1989
    consultant editor Antonio Fortún Paesa. From May 7th to July 4th 1989
  • Goya y el Mundo Moderno
    Museo de Zaragoza
    Zaragoza
    2008
    organized by the Fundación Goya en Aragón at the Museo de Zaragoza, consultant editors Valeriano Bozal and Concepción Lomba Serrano. From December 18th 2008 to March 22nd 2009
Bibliografía
  • Vie et ouvre de Francisco de Goya
    Juliet Wilson and Pierre Gassier
    p. 263, cat. 924
    1970
    Office du livre
  • Goya, 1746 – 1828. Biografía, estudio analítico y catálogo de sus pinturas, 4 vols.
    José Gudiol
    vol. I, pp. 322, cat. 474
    1970
    Polígrafa
  • L’opera pittorica completa di Goya
    Rita de Angelis
    p. 117, cat. 410, 411
    1974
    Rizzoli
  • Goya y el Mundo Moderno
    Concepción (comisaria) Lomba Serrano and Valeriano (comisario) Bozal
    p. 272, cat. 152
    2008
    Fundación Goya en Aragón y Lunwerg
Enlaces externos
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