Francisco de Goya

Poor Children at the Well (Los pobres de la fuente) (sketch)

Poor Children at the Well (Los pobres de la fuente) (sketch)
Datos Generales
Cronología
1786
Ubicación
Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain
Dimensiones
35.5 x 18.5 cm
Técnica y soporte
Oil on canvas
Reconocimiento de la autoría de Goya
Documented work
Titular
Colección Privada Thyssen
Ficha: realización/revisión
14 Dec 2009 / 04 Dec 2019
Inventario
52 (CTB.1983.38)
Historia

Sketch for the tapestry cartoon Poor Children at the Well.

This sketch was made by Goya in autumn 1786, to be shown to the king for his approval. This meeting probably took place on 1 May 1787, the date recorded for the payment of a carriage to take the artist to the palace of El Escorial so that he might show the king the sketches for the dining-room piece for El Pardo.

The artist may have kept the sketch himself, which was later to appear in the collection of the Duke and Duchess of Osuna. However, it does not appear in the payment order of 1799 for the sketches made by Goya and sold to the Duke and Duchess a year earlier, and as such we can deduce that it may have been given as a gift at some undetermined subsequent date. It remained in the collection of the Duke and Duchess of Osuna until its sale in 1896, at the time of the bankruptcy of the ducal household and by order of the executive bondholder board, when it came to form part of the Lafora collection in Madrid, having been acquired for the sum of 1,000 pesetas.

Afterwards it belonged to the collection of the Duke of Valencia and was then subsequently found in the collections of Mercedes de Borbón, Carlos de Borbón, and Alfonso Ferrer, ending up, in 1960, in the collection of P. & D. Colnaghi, in London. Later in was in a private collection in Herefordshire, England, from where, in 1987, it went to that of E. V. Thaw, in New York, where it remained until entering the collection where it is found today.

Análisis artístico

The sketch features some differences compared to the cartoon, which are of great help in understanding Goya's original idea. In the cartoon we can see certain additions made to increase the feeling of wintertime, such as for example the bare tree, the leaden sky replacing the blue sky of the sketch, and the snowy background, all of which make clear references to winter. Even the foliage growing behind the figures is painted in a less intense green.

In the sketch, on the other hand, there is nothing to suggest that this is a winter scene: the child on the right who appears to be shivering with cold in the cartoon is here angry because, unlike his older brother, he has not been entrusted with the task of carrying a pitcher, and their mother encourages him to take the one that is filling in the fountain. There is nothing to suggest that the figures are poor, either. It was Cruzada Villaamil who incorrectly gave the cartoon the title of Los pobres, The Poor, in his work of 1870. In the finished painting, the woman wears shoes with buckles, thus confirming that this is a relatively well-off family.

The sketch is executed delicately, with particular care being paid to the rendering of the figures, including details such as the highlights and fringing on their clothes, and the expressions on their faces.

Exposiciones
  • Exposición y venta de los cuadros, esculturas, grabados y otros objetos artísticos de la Casa Duca
    Palacio de la Industria y de las Artes
    Madrid
    1896
    1896
  • Exposición histórico-artística del Centenario del Dos de Mayo
    Museo Arqueológico Nacional
    Madrid
    1908
  • Goya
    Koninklijk Kabinet van Schilderijen Mauritshuis
    The Hauge
    1970
    organized by Ministerio de Estado y Asuntos Culturales and Réunion des Musées Nationaux, July 4th to September 13th 1970. Exhibited also at the Musée de l’Orangerie des Tuileries, Paris, October 25th to December 7th 1970, consultant editors Jeannine Baticle and A. B. de Vries
  • Goya. El Capricho y la Invención. Cuadros de gabinete, bocetos y miniaturas
    Museo Nacional del Prado
    Madrid
    1993
    from November 18th 1993 to February 15th 1994. Exhibited also at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, March 18th to June 12th 1994 and The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, July 16th to October 16th 1994, consultant editors Manuela B. Mena Marqués and Juliet Wilson-Bareau
  • Goya: Prophet der Moderne
    Alte Nationalgalerie
    Berlin
    2005
    from July 13th to October 3th 2005. Exhibitied also at the Kunsthistorischemuseum, Vienna, October 18th 2005 to January 8th 2006, consultant editor Manuela B. Mena Marqués
Bibliografía
  • L'œuvre peint de Goya. 4 vols
    Xavier Desparmet Fitz-Gerald
    vol. I, p. 190, cat. 149
    1928-1950
  • Tapices de Goya
    Valentín de Sambricio
    p. 257, cat. 45ª
    1946
    Patrimonio Nacional
  • Vie et ouvre de Francisco de Goya
    Juliet Wilson and Pierre Gassier
    pp. 79, 97, cat. 261
    1970
    Office du livre
  • Goya, 1746 – 1828. Biografía, estudio analítico y catálogo de sus pinturas, 4 vols.
    José Gudiol
    vol. I, p. 268, cat. 222
    1970
    Polígrafa
  • L’opera pittorica completa di Goya
    Rita de Angelis
    p. 102, cat. 204
    1974
    Rizzoli
  • Francisco de Goya, 4 vols.
    José Camón Aznar
    vol. II, p. 43
    1980-1982
    Caja de Ahorros de Zaragoza, Aragón y Rioja
  • Francisco de Goya, cartones y tapices
    José Manuel Arnáiz
    pp. 147, 184 194, cat. 49B
    1987
    Espasa Calpe
    Col. Espasa Arte
  • Goya. El capricho y la invención. Cuadros de gabinete, bocetos y miniaturas
    Manuela B. (comisaria) Mena Marqués and Juliet (comisaria) Wilson-Bareau
    p. 168, cat. 23 y p. 169 (il.)
    1993
    Museo del Prado
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