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Home | Exhibitions | Past Exhibitions | 1999 | "Los Caprichos" by Goya (April 17, 1999 - April 16, 2000)

"Los Caprichos" by Goya

They spruce themselves up
Francisco José Goya y Lucientes
(Spanish, 1746–1828)
Se repulien.
(They spruce themselves up.)
Plate 51 from the series Los Caprichos
First published 1799
Etching and aquatint
(91.294.47)

The great Spanish artist Francisco Goya (1746–1828) created his first major graphic series, Los Caprichos, in 1799. The eighty plates of this series exposed corruption at the Spanish court, abuses of the Catholic Church, duplicity of lovers, superstitions of the peasantry, and decadence of the privileged classes. The etchings were executed during a period of personal turmoil for the artist that induced in him a pessimistic view of human nature. The term caprichos means "fantasies," and in Goya’s hands these turned into visions of human weakness and deficiencies of reason. Seventy of the eighty prints of the series were displayed in three successive groups over a period of twelve months.

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