Francisco de Goya

The women give courage (Las mugeres dan valor)

The women give courage (Las mugeres dan valor)
Datos Generales
Ca. 1810 - 1815
155 x 206 mm
Técnica y soporte
Etching, lavis, drypoint, burin and burnisher
Reconocimiento de la autoría de Goya
Undisputed work
Ficha: realización/revisión
25 Nov 2010 / 14 Apr 2021

28 (lower left-hand corner).


See Sad presentiments of what must come to pass.

There exists a state proof in which lavis and aquatint were added right up to the edges, and drypoint was used to retouch the woman's left cheek. No state proof with just the engraved number 34 has been conserved, but another state proof, featuring both that number and the number 4, has survived.

The title was handwritten by Goya on the first and only print run that we know to have been made at the time, and which the painter gave to his friend Agustín Ceán Bermúdez. The title was engraved on to the copperplate at a later date, and no other modifications were made to the image for the first edition of the Disasters of War, which was printed by the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, Madrid, in 1863.

No preparatory drawings for this print have been conserved.

Análisis artístico

In the centre of the scene a French soldier grapples with a woman, pulling her violently by the hair. Next to this pair, another female figure fights with a second French soldier lying on the ground, whom she has just stabbed with a sword. The bold dynamism of this image is achieved through the use of diagonal lines in the composition, giving a sensation of instability to the figures. This same device has been used in many other prints in the Disasters of War series.

Aquatint has been applied over the whole of the background, as well as on the ground. The result is a grainy effect that, on the one hand, cancels out any spatial references whilst at the same time creating an oppressively dark atmosphere that heightens the sinister character of the scene.

There are several images in which Goya speaks of the decisive role played by women in war. Victims of rape and assault, they find themselves in circumstances in which they are forced to defend themselves in any way possible. This print is related to no. 5, And are like wild beasts, which appears to conclude the narration being told here in print no. 4, or to add emphasis to it.

Other prints in the series in which Goya deals with women's involvement in war include no. 7,What courage!, no. 9, They do not want to, no. 11, Or these, no. 13, Bitter presence, no. 19, There is no more time and no. 31 That's tough!.


The etching plate is conserved in the National Chalcography Museum (cat. 255).

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Enlaces externos
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