Francisco de Goya

Datos Generales
The Prado National Museum. Madrid, Madrid, Spain
269 x 350 cm
Técnica y soporte
Oil on canvas
Reconocimiento de la autoría de Goya
Documented work
El Prado National Museum
Ficha: realización/revisión
20 Dec 2009 / 19 Jan 2022

Towards the end of 1787 Goya received the commission to make the cartoons that would serve as models for the tapestries to hang in the Infantas' bedroom. In April 1788 the artist sent an invoice that included five stretchers for the sketches for the series, on which he was still working "with much insistence and displeasure" a month later, which we know from the letter he sent to Martín Zapater on 31 May 1788.

Around 1856 or 1857, this cartoon was moved from the Royal Tapestry Factory to the Royal Palace in Madrid. There it remained in the tapestry basements until it was taken to the Prado Museum, into which collection it entered under orders given on 18 January and 9 February 1870.

Análisis artístico

In this country scene we see eight people holding hands to form a circle around a ninth figure in the centre that is wearing a blindfold and is holding a wooden spoon. This detail led the cartoon to receive the title The Wooden Spoon Game earlier on. It was Cruzada Villaamil who later called it Blind Man's Buff, or, literally, The Blind Hen.

This is the only cartoon from the series which was to adorn the Infantas' bedroom that was ever actually painted. The oil sketch of the work, in which several differences can be seen, has also been conserved. Goya simplified the composition in the cartoon in order to facilitate its translation into tapestry. As such, the crowd that appears in the background in the sketch has disappeared in the finished cartoon. He also gave greater dynamism to the group of figures, who take on a more credible rhythm than in the sketch, and changed the perspective. In the sketch the dimensions are squarer and the sky is given a more important role, whereas in the cartoon the dimensions are flattened, concentrating more on the group of figures.

Writers have also seen references to love in this painting. Tomlinson understands the work to be a metaphor for blind love, referring to the blindfold worn by the person trapped by his companions.

The similarities with the cartoon Dance on the Banks of the Manzanares are obvious, and this relationship is more than justified since both scenes appear to be set in the same place and both depict activities of leisure and amusement.

  • Goya. 250 Aniversario
    Museo Nacional del Prado
    consultant editor Juan J. Luna. From March 29th to June 2nd 1996
  • Goya. La imagen de la mujer
    Museo Nacional del Prado
    from October 30th 2001 to February 10th 2002. Exhibitied also at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, March 10th to June 2nd 2002, consultant editor Francisco Calvo Serraller
  • Goya luces y sombras
    consultant editors José Manuel Matilla and Manuela B. Marqués. From March 16th to June 24th 2012
  • Goya en Madrid. Cartones para tapices 1775-1794
    Museo Nacional del Prado
  • L'œuvre peint de Goya. 4 vols
    vol. I, p. 103, cat. 44
  • Valentín de Sambricio
    Tapices de Goya
    MadridPatrimonio Nacional
    pp. 156-157, 268, cat. 55 y láms. 172-17
  • GASSIER, Pierre y WILSON, Juliet
    Vie et ouvre de Francisco de Goya
    ParísOffice du livre
    pp. 79, 98, cat. 276 y p. 69 (il.)
  • vol. I, p. 275, cat. 256
  • ANGELIS, Rita de
    L’opera pittorica completa di Goya
    p. 103, cat. 235
  • José Camón Aznar
    Francisco de Goya, 4 vols.
    ZaragozaCaja de Ahorros de Zaragoza, Aragón y Rioja
    vol. II, p. 59 y p. 80 (il.)
  • BOZAL, Valeriano
    Imagen de Goya
    pp. 78-79, 86-87, 90
  • José Manuel Arnáiz
    Francisco de Goya, cartones y tapices
    col. Col. Espasa Arte
    Espasa Calpe
    pp. 156-157, 307, cat. 60C y p. 156 (il.
  • Janis A. Tomlinson
    Francisco de Goya. Los cartones para tapices y los comienzos de su carrera en la corte de Madrid
    col. Col. Ensayos de Arte Cátedra
    pp. 235 y p. 236 (il.)
  • Goya. 250 Aniversario
    MadridMuseo del Prado
    p. 330, cat. 50 y pp. 132, 133 (ils.)
  • José Luis Sancho
    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)
    MadridPatrimonio Nacional, Goya 96, Lunwerg
    p. 172 (il.)
  • Francisco de Goya Y Lucientes
    Cartas a Martín Zapater
    Madridedición de Mercedes Águila Villar y Xavier de Salas, Istmo
    p. 275, nº 105
  • Goya en Madrid. Cartones para tapices 1775-1794
    MadridMuseo Nacional del Prado
    p. 175
Enlaces externos
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