Francisco de Goya

Datos Generales
1786 - 1787
The Prado National Museum. Madrid, Madrid, Spain
275 x 293 cm
Técnica y soporte
Oil on canvas
Reconocimiento de la autoría de Goya
Documented work
El Prado National Museum
Ficha: realización/revisión
08 Dec 2009 / 25 Aug 2022

See The Flower Girls.

Análisis artístico

The tapestry of The Snowstorm would have hung on the north wall of the room, flanked by the overdoor pieces Shepherd Playing a Dulzaina and Hunter beside a Spring.

Five men attempt to cross a bleak frozen landscape, struggling against the force of the snow and wind. They protect themselves from the cold with blankets and hoods and in their faces we can see their effort and discomfort. Behind them, a hooded man pulls along a mule laden with a dead pig, an animal connected to winter since the time of its slaughter used to mark the beginning of the cold season.

We can see a radical change between the cartoons Goya painted previously and this winter trilogy. The artist has abandoned the theme of the fair, the pleasant views, the flirting between majos and majas, etc in order to show the viewer the less fortunate side of society: the poor, the peasants and the workers. This realist vision of society was more befitting of literature and we can find a close parallel with these paintings by Goya in the work of the poet Juan Meléndez Valdés.

Goya was also breaking ground with the way he chose to represent winter, eschewing the use of traditional iconography, which tended to depict two old men warming themselves and protecting themselves from the two elements that dominate this season: the wind and the cold. The sublime nature of the landscape is evoked through the whiteness of the snow, the force of the wind that bends the branches of the trees and whips against the capes, and the cold that forces the figures to wrap themselves up tightly. Seasonal sensations are expressed better in this season, winter, than in any of the others.

Arnaiz confirms that the man on the left of the group of three, who is looking out at the viewer, is almost certainly a self-portrait of the artist.

  • Goya y el espíritu de la Ilustración
    Museo Nacional del Prado
    from October 6th to December 18th 1988. Exhibited also at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, January 18th to March 26th 1989; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Nueva York, May 9th to July 16th 1989, Madrid curator Manuela B. Mena Marqués, scientific directors Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez and Eleanor A. Sayre
  • 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
    vol. I, p. 95, cat. 36
  • SAMBRICIO, Valentín de
    Tapices de Goya
    MadridPatrimonio Nacional
    pp. 141, 252, cat. 43 y lám. 156
  • GASSIER, Pierre y WILSON, Juliet
    Vie et ouvre de Francisco de Goya
    ParísOffice du livre
    p. 97, cat. 265
  • vol. I, pp. 268-269, cat. 221
  • ANGELIS, Rita de
    L’opera pittorica completa di Goya
    p. 102, cat. 201
    Francisco de Goya, 4 vols.
    ZaragozaCaja de Ahorros de Zaragoza, Aragón y Rioja
    vol. II, p. 42
  • ARNAIZ, José Manuel
    Francisco de Goya, cartones y tapices
    col. col. "Espasa Arte"
    Espasa Calpe
    pp. 138, 140, 290, cat. 47C y p. 140 (il
  • NORDSTRÖM, Folke
    Goya, Saturno y melancolía. Consideraciones sobre el arte de Goya
    MadridLa Balsa de la Medusa (edición original: Estocolmo, Almqvis & Wiksell, 1962)
    pp. 62-66 y p. 63 (il.)
  • TOMLINSON, Janis A.
    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. 216, 218 y p. 215 (il.)
  • LUNA, Juan J. (Comisario)
    Goya. 250 Aniversario
    MadridMuseo del Prado
    p. 318, cat. 38 y p. 118 (il.)
  • SANCHO, José Luis
    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. 164 (il.)
  • MENA MARQUÉS, Manuela B. y MAURER, Gudrun (comisarias)
    Goya en Madrid. Cartones para tapices 1775-1794
    MadridMuseo Nacional del Prado
    p. 275
Enlaces externos
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