Francisco de Goya

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

The Cutting of a Woman’s Throat (La degollación)
Datos Generales
Ca. 1800 - 1814
Private collection
33 x 47 cm
Técnica y soporte
Oil on wood panel
Reconocimiento de la autoría de Goya
Documented work
Private collection
Ficha: realización/revisión
12 May 2010 / 15 Jun 2023
Otros títulos:
Savages Murdering a Woman (Salvajes asesinando a una mujer)
Savages Cutting a Woman’s Throat (Salvajes que degüellan a una mujer)

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.

  • Pinturas de Goya
    Museo Nacional del Prado
    consultant editor Fernando Álvarez de Sotomayor. From April to May 1928
  • 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
    Koninklijke Musea Voor Schone Kunsten Van België
    consultant editor Luis González Seara. From October 26th to December 22nd 1985
  • Goya (1746 – 1828)
    Galleria Internazionale d’Arte Moderna di Ca’Pesaro
    consultant editor Antonio Fortún Paesa. From May 7th to July 4th 1989
  • Goya y el Mundo Moderno
    Museo de Zaragoza
    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
  • GASSIER, Pierre y WILSON, Juliet
    Vie et ouvre de Francisco de Goya
    ParísOffice du livre
    p. 263, cat. 924
    vol. I, pp. 322, cat. 474
  • ANGELIS, Rita de
    L’opera pittorica completa di Goya
    p. 117, cat. 410, 411
  • LOMBA, Concepción y BOZAL, Valeriano (comisarios)
    Goya y el Mundo Moderno
    ZaragozaFundación Goya en Aragón y Lunwerg
    p. 272, cat. 152
Enlaces externos
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