Francisco de Goya

The healthy and the sick (Sanos y enfermos)

The healthy and the sick (Sanos y enfermos)
Datos Generales
Ca. 1812 - 1815
157 x 209 mm
Técnica y soporte
Aguafuerte, aguatinta bruñida, buril y bruñidor
Reconocimiento de la autoría de Goya
Undisputed work
Ficha: realización/revisión
19 Dec 2010 / 28 Oct 2022

5 (on the lower left-hand corner of the plate).


See Sad 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 in Madrid.

Análisis artístico

In this image Goya continues to explore the consequences of the famine that devastated Spain during the Spanish War of Independence. In the centre of the composition a woman wearing a cloak holds onto a young boy by the shoulder. The woman, who is extremely thin, is covered with a paltry garment that accentuates her scrawny physique. It is possible that she is suffering from lathyrism, which would explain why she cannot maintain a standing posture. This illness, which was especially serious for children, was caused by an excessive consumption of grass pea, which was used as a substitute for wheat in bread and for making soups.

On the left is another figure seated on the ground. His bare chest allows the viewer to see all his ribs. Behind the woman and child in the foreground is a young woman sitting down with a newborn baby on her lap. In the background, a figure turned slightly to the right is stretched out on the floor, either exhausted by hunger or unable to stand due to the effects of lathyrism. Also in the background are the silhouettes of two completely shrouded figures, a device Goya employed in various prints in the Disasters of War series.

The scene seems to be taking place under a wide arch which shelters the figures, perhaps in the street. This type of wide arch was employed by the artist on numerous occasions, such as Prison Interior (Interior de una prisión) and Children Playing Bullfighting (Niños jugando a los toros) to give but a few examples. This device is also used in prints no. 11, Neither do these (Ni por esas) and no. 13, Bitter to be present (Amarga presencia), both from the Disasters of War series.

Juan Carrete believes that this print can be read in two ways, since the adjective "healthy" was used by both supporters of Bonaparte and patriots to describe these opposing sides within the Spanish nation.


The plate is stored in the National Chalcography (cat. 308).

  • 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
  • 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 et la modernité
    Pinacothèque de Paris
    from October 11st 2013 to March 16th 2014
  • 2022
  • BERUETE Y MONET, Aureliano de
    Goya, grabador
    MadridBlass S.A.
    cat. 159
  • HARRIS, Tomás
    Goya engravings and lithographs, vol. I y II.
    Oxford, Bruno Cassirer
    cat. 177
  • GASSIER, Pierre y WILSON, Juliet
    Vie et ouvre de Francisco de Goya
    ParísOffice du livre
    cat. 1088
  • PÉREZ SÁNCHEZ, Alfonso E. y SAYRE, Eleanor A. (directores) and MENA, Manuela B. (comisaria)
    Goya y el espíritu de la Ilustración
    MadridMuseo del Prado
    pp. 311-312, cat. 92
  • SANTIAGO, Elena M. (coordinadora)
    Catálogo de las estampas de Goya en la Biblioteca Nacional
    MadridMinisterio de Educación y Cultura, Biblioteca Nacional
    cat. 268
  • OROPESA, Marisa and RINCÓN GARCÍA, Wilfredo
    ParísPinacoteca de París
    p. 148
    Museo de Bellas Artes de Badajoz y Diputación de Badajoz
    Goya. In the Norton Simon Museum
    PasadenaNorton Simon Museum
    pp. 114-151
Enlaces externos
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