Francisco de Goya

And are like wild beasts (Y son fieras)

And are like wild beasts (Y son fieras)
Datos Generales
Ca. 1812 - 1815
156 x 208 mm
Técnica y soporte
Etching, burnished aquatint and drypoint
Reconocimiento de la autoría de Goya
Undisputed work
Ficha: realización/revisión
25 Nov 2010 / 14 Apr 2021

28 (lower left-hand corner).


See Sad presentiments of what must come to pass.

In the second state proof we can see where the burnisher has been used on the upper part of the plate, on the body of the speared soldier and on the right thigh of the woman lying off to the left-hand side. Drypoint has been applied on the trousers of the speared soldier in the foreground. This state proof was made before the lettering was added and the additional aquatint was applied.

There exists another state proof, with the number 5 already engraved, in which the aquatint has been removed from the edges apart from in a small area at the bottom.

The title was handwritten by Goya on the first and only print run that we know to have been made at the time, and which the painter gave to his friend Agustín Ceán Bermúdez. The title was engraved on to the copperplate at a later date, and no other modifications were made to the image for the first edition of the Disasters of War, which was printed by the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, Madrid, in 1863.

No preparatory drawings for this print have been conserved.

Análisis artístico

In the foreground, a woman, with a child held under one arm, drives a spear into a soldier, mortally wounding him. Beside her, and slightly further back, another woman is lying on the ground, with a dagger clasped in one hand. In the middle ground, several figures are entangled in a vicious struggle on the ground: off to one side a soldier, shown in profile, takes aim with his rifle; a woman stabs a sword into a French soldier; and another holds a large stone over her head, ready to hurl it.

Just as in print no. 4, The women give courage, here Goya has used diagonal lines in the composition to produce a strong sensation of instability and movement. Only the prone woman, the woman on the left who is about to throw the stone, and the soldier aiming his gun on the right-hand side contribute any kind of stability to the scene, constituting a sort of parenthesis that serves to mark the edges of the situation. It is difficult to make out against whom the figures at the back are fighting. It almost seems as if they are all fighting against one another, as if they form part of the same wild mob, driven by a fervent, irrational violence.

Here aquatint has been used more moderately, with less intensity than in the previous print. The background is somewhat paler and the white surface of the two figures in the foreground helps to emphasize their importance.

Looking beyond the prevailing chaos of this image, Goya sets out to remind us of the prominence of women in the struggle, of their ferocity. Here, in And are like wild beasts, he continues with the theme of women's role in war that he began in print no. 4, The women give courage. In addition, the presence of the half-naked child, which the woman in the foreground carries under her arm, brings to mind the biblical story of the slaughter of the innocents.


The etching plate is conserved in the National Chalcography Museum (cat. 256).

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    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
  • Aureliano de Beruete Y Moret
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    MadridBlass S.A.
    cat. 107
  • Tomás Harris
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    Bruno Cassirer
    cat. 125
  • GASSIER, Pierre y WILSON, Juliet
    Vie et ouvre de Francisco de Goya
    ParísOffice du livre
    cat. 998
  • Juan Carrete Parrondo
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    cat. 125
  • MENA, Manuela B. (comisaria) and PÉREZ SÁNCHEZ, Alfonso E. y SAYRE, Eleanor A. (directores)
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    MadridMuseo del Prado
    cat. 83
  • SANTIAGO, Elena M. (coordinadora)
    Catálogo de las estampas de Goya en la Biblioteca Nacional
    MadridMinisterio de Educación y Cultura, Biblioteca Nacional
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Enlaces externos
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