Francisco de Goya

He Deserved It (Lo merecia)

He Deserved It (Lo merecia)
Datos Generales
Ca. 1810 - 1812
180 x 220 mm
Técnica y soporte
Etching, burin, drypoint and burnisher
Reconocimiento de la autoría de Goya
Undisputed work
Ficha: realización/revisión
06 Dec 2010 / 28 Oct 2022

SeeSad presentiments of what must come to pass.

The title was handwritten on the print by Goya in the first and only series that is known to have been printed at the time the works were created, which the artist gave to his friend Agustín Ceán Bermúdez. Therefore, the title was etched into the plate at a later date and left unchanged as of the first edition of the Disasters of War printed by the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid in 1863, after the printing of the series in the possession of Ceán Bermúdez.

There is a surviving preparatory drawing for this print which is housed in the Prado Museum.

Análisis artístico

In He Deserved It two men pull a rope attached to a body - possibly a corpse - which is naked from the waist down. Behind them is a fervent crowd led by a man brandishing a rod in his hand.

Goya depicts the faces of the two men pulling the rope in great detail. One of them looks with compassion at the body they are dragging behind them, while the other concentrates on his task with closed eyes, perhaps in an attempt to avoid thinking about the odious task they are carrying out.

This print may continue the story depicted in the previous print in the series, nº 28, Mob (Populacho).If this is the case, the scene continues here with the dragging of the body that was being beaten in front of the mob in the previous print, a crowd that takes pleasure in the macabre spectacle.

Goya composed the scene based on a diagonal line formed by the two men, the rope, and the body. The figures in the background seem to be given a secondary importance: the one closest to the body is shown against the light, making it impossible to see their face. The faces of those following the body in a morbid procession are sketched in a perfunctory manner, giving them the appearance of masks.

The way Goya has represented the figure in the foreground pulling the rope - the figure that looks back at what may be a corpse with a look of anguish - is striking. His body is totally white, a device that could be interpreted as being employed by the painter to highlight the figure's facial expression. Perhaps this figure, wracked by doubt, tries to justify their action by convincing himself that their victim "deserved it".

While it is true to say that this kind of scene must have been very common during the war, in some cases it has been suggested that this image may be linked to the gathering of the bodies of the French soldiers who fell in Zaragoza on 4 August 1808 and were dragged through the city.


The plate is stored in the National Chalcography (cat. 280)

  • Francisco de Goya
    Museo d'Arte Moderna
    exhibition celebrated from September 22nd to November 17th.
  • Francisco Goya. Sein leben im spiegel der graphik. Fuendetodos 1746-1828 Bordeaux. 1746-1996
    Galerie Kornfeld
    from November 21st 1996 to January 1997
  • Francisco Goya. Capricci, follie e disastri della guerra
    San Donato Milanese
    Opere grafiche della Fondazione Antonio Mazzotta
  • Goya. Opera grafica
    Pinacoteca del Castello di San Giorgio
    exhibition celebrated from December 16th 2006 to April 1st 2007
  • Goya en tiempos de guerra
    Museo Nacional del Prado
    consultant editor Manuela B. Mena Marqués, from April 14th to July 13th 2008
  • Goya et la modernité
    Pinacothèque de Paris
    from October 11st 2013 to March 16th 2014
  • BERUETE Y MONET, Aureliano de
    Goya, grabador
    MadridBlass S.A.
    cat. 131
  • DOGSON, Campbell
    Los Desastres de la guerra. Etched by Francisco de Goya y Lucientes
    Roxburghe Club
    p. 4
  • HARRIS, Tomás
    Goya engravings and lithographs, vol. I y II.
    OxfordBruno Cassirer
    cat. 149
  • GASSIER, Pierre y WILSON, Juliet
    Vie et ouvre de Francisco de Goya
    ParísOffice du livre
    cat. 1042
  • PAZ, Alfredo de
    Goya. Arte e condizione umana
    NaplesLiguori editore
    lam. 201
  • SANTIAGO, Elena M. (coordinadora)
    Catálogo de las estampas de Goya en la Biblioteca Nacional
    MadridMinisterio de Educación y Cultura, Biblioteca Nacional
    cat. 231
  • OROPESA, Marisa and RINCÓN GARCÍA, Wilfredo
    ParísPinacoteca de París
    p. 134
    Goya. In the Norton Simon Museum
    PasadenaNorton Simon Museum
    pp. 114-151
Enlaces externos
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