Francisco de Goya

If he is guilty, let him die quickly (Si es delincuente q.e muera presto)

If he is guilty, let him die quickly (Si es delincuente q.e muera presto)
Datos Generales
Ca. 1810 - 1815
115 x 85 mm
Técnica y soporte
Reconocimiento de la autoría de Goya
Undisputed work
Ficha: realización/revisión
16 Nov 2010 / 19 Dec 2022

4 (in pencil, upper right-hand corner).

55/9 (lower right-hand corner).


See The Blind Guitarrist and The custody is as barbarous as the crime.

The title of this work is taken from the handwritten title of a state proof that Goya included in the album of his Disasters of War prints which he gave to his friend Ceán Bermúdez and which is now in the British Museum, London.

Análisis artístico

In a darkened cell a prisoner is bound to the wall by chains around his neck. His arms are tied behind his back and his feet are locked in a large shackle. The prisoner's body is curved in a line that starts at his feet, which are resting on the floor, continues up to his slightly bent knees, and finishes at his torso, which is slumped forward. His face is in shadow, concealing his features from the viewer. This awkward posture is the same as that of the prisoner depicted in The custody is as barbarous as the crime. The ragged clothes of the man are lighter in tone, possibly an allusion to his innocence.

Goya has described the space using short, compact horizontal lines, whilst the face of the accused has been rendered using a dense grid-like pattern, making it impossible for us to see his features.

The title of this print sheds some light on the story of this prisoner, who is most likely awaiting his execution, and expresses the inflexibility and inhumanity of some of the punishments that the laws of the time subjected prisoners to. This etching must have been made during the same period as The custody is as barbarous as the crime and The custody of a prisoner does not call for torture and is related to various prints from the Disasters of War series, in which Goya depicts scenes of prisoners condemned to death, clearly demonstrating his opposition to capital punishment.

  • Exposición de la obra grabada de Goya
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    catalogue by Miguel Velasco Aguirre
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    Biblioteca Nacional
    catalogue Elena Páez Ríos
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    from 10th to April 14th 1996
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    The National Museum of Western Art
    from December 1st to July 3th 1999
  • Goya en tiempos de guerra
    Museo Nacional del Prado
    consultant editor Manuela B. Mena Marqués, from April 14th to July 13th 2008
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    Goya, grabador
    MadridBlass S.A.
    cat. 264
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    Oxford, Bruno Cassirer
    cat. 28
  • GASSIER, Pierre y WILSON, Juliet
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    ParísOffice du livre
    cat. 990
  • SANTIAGO, Elena M. (coordinadora)
    Catálogo de las estampas de Goya en la Biblioteca Nacional
    MadridMinisterio de Educación y Cultura, Biblioteca Nacional
    cat. 70
  • MENA MARQUÉS, Manuela B.
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    p. 350-352
Enlaces externos
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