Francisco de Goya

Datos Generales
Cronología
Ca. 1797 - 1798
Dimensiones
210 x 152 mm
Técnica y soporte
Etching and burnished aquatint
Reconocimiento de la autoría de Goya
Undisputed work
Ficha: realización/revisión
21 Nov 2010 / 05 Jun 2023
Inventario
225
Inscripciones

Tántalo. (at the bottom)

 9. (in the upper right-hand corner)

Historia

See Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, Painter.

In the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York there is a proof of state before the handwriting, on which is handwritten and crossed out So that you try? underneath it reads, Tantalum.

A preparatory drawing in sanguine is kept in the Prado Museum.

Análisis artístico

A man stands in front of a pyramid of which we can only see the base and in which the ashlars that make up the pyramid have been delimited. He clasps his hands in front of his face in a gesture of supplication, while holding the body of a woman on his knees. The woman's torso is uncovered and her breasts are visible, her head is thrown back and her face appears inanimate.

This engraving is somewhat brighter than other prints from Los Caprichos. Goya used aquatint to create the surface of the pyramid, while the male figure's clothing is rendered by etching. One of the main points of light in this picture is the young woman's body, which is partially uncovered at the chest and leg. For this part of the woman's anatomy, Goya used an aquatint so pale and delicately burnished that it is barely visible in the earlier, more inky prints.

The title of this print is an obvious allusion to Greek mythology, in which Tantalus was a son of Zeus and the Oceanid Pluto, who was invited to a banquet by the gods, to whom he responded with another invitation. For them he butchered and cooked his own son, Pelops, which earned him an eternal punishment consisting of lying in a lake with chin-deep water under a tree full of fruit that was removed from his reach whenever he wished to eat. In many cases, scholars have seen in this mythological character the rejection of the Olympian religion of human sacrifice, which was carried out especially in the early cults.

The manuscripts we have preserved explain this engraving by Goya; Ayala's says that "if he were more gallant, she would revive. This happens to old men who marry wenches". In the manuscript of the Prado Museum we can read about this engraving that "if he were more gallant and less fastidious, she would come back to life". Slightly more extensive is the explanation given in the manuscript of the Biblioteca Nacional, which states that "a good female next to an old man who does not satisfy her, has delicacies, is like one who is thirsty, is next to water and cannot taste it".

It is precisely the text in the National Library that leads us to the title of this print, Tantalus, in which Goya criticises unequal marriages that lead to the dissatisfaction of both spouses. He draws a parallel between the condemnation of the mythological character and the circumstances of those who have to satisfy a younger woman, which creates an enormous sense of frustration.

Conservación

The plate of this engraving is in poor condition ( National Chalcography, no. 180).

Exposiciones
  • Goya. Gemälde Zeichnungen. Graphik. Tapisserien
    Kunsthalle Basel
    Basle
    1953
    from January 23th to April 12th 1953
  • Goya. Das Zeitalter der Revolucionen. Kunst um 1800 (1980 – 1981)
    Hamburger Kunsthalle
    Hamburg
    1980
  • Goya. La década de Los Caprichos
    Madrid
    1992
    organized by Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando sponsored by Fundación Central Hispano, Madrid, consultant editor Nigel Glendinnig. From October 26th 1992 to January 10th 1993
  • Francisco de Goya
    Museo d'Arte Moderna
    Lugano
    1996
    exhibition celebrated from September 22nd to November 17th.
  • Francisco Goya. Sein leben im spiegel der graphik. Fuendetodos 1746-1828 Bordeaux. 1746-1996
    Galerie Kornfeld
    Bern
    1996
    from November 21st 1996 to January 1997
  • Das Capriccio als Kunstprinzip
    Wallraf-Richartz-Museum,
    1996
    from December 8th 1996 to February 16th 1997, exhibited also in Zurich, Kunsthaus, from March 14th marzo 1997 to June 1st 1997 and in Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum mi Palais Harrach, from June 29th 1997 to September 21st 1997.
  • Francisco Goya. Capricci, follie e disastri della guerra
    San Donato Milanese
    2000
    Opere grafiche della Fondazione Antonio Mazzotta
  • Goya e la tradizione italiana
    Fondazione Magnani Rocca
    Mamiano di Traversetolo (Parma)
    2006
    consultant editors Fred Licht and Simona Tosini Pizzetti. From September 9th to December 3th 2006
  • Goya. Opera grafica
    Pinacoteca del Castello di San Giorgio
    Legnano
    2006
    exhibition celebrated from December 16th 2006 to April 1st 2007
  • Goya et la modernité
    Pinacothèque de Paris
    París
    2013
    from October 11st 2013 to March 16th 2014
  • 2022
Bibliografía
  • HOFER, Philip
    Some undescribed states of Goya's Caprichos
    New York
    1945
    p.179
  • HARRIS, Tomás
    Goya engravings and lithographs, vol. I y II.
    OxfordBruno Cassirer
    1964
    p.79, cat. 44
  • GASSIER, Pierre y WILSON, Juliet
    Vie et ouvre de Francisco de Goya
    ParísOffice du livre
    1970
    p.177, cat. 467
  • WILSON BAREAU, Juliet
    Goya, la década de los caprichos: dibujos y aguafuertes
    MadridReal Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando
    1992
    pp.26-28, cat. 15-16
  • SANTIAGO, Elena M. (coordinadora)
    Catálogo de las estampas de Goya en la Biblioteca Nacional
    MadridMinisterio de Educación y Cultura, Biblioteca Nacional
    1996
    p.78, cat. 97
  • BLAS BENITO, Javier, MATILLA RODRÍGUEZ, José Manuel y MEDRANO, José Miguel
    El libro de los caprichos: dos siglos de interpretaciones (1799-1999). Catálogo de los dibujos, pruebas de estado, láminas de cobre y estampas de la primera edición
    MadridMuseo Nacional del Prado
    1999
    pp.92-95
  • OROPESA, Marisa and RINCÓN GARCÍA, Wilfredo
    ParísPinacoteca de París
    2013
    p. 193
  • WILSON BAREAU, Juliet
    Goya. In the Norton Simon Museum
    PasadenaNorton Simon Museum
    2016
    pp. 42-75
  • TORAL OROPESA, María and MARTÍN MEDINA, Víctor
    Museo de Bellas Artes de Badajoz y Diputación de Badajoz
    2022
    p. 32
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