History of Medicine
Francisco Goya Prints
Goya, Los caprichos (Caprices), plate 40, ¿De que mal morira? (What Illness Will He Die from?), original etching and aquatint, 1796-97. Fifth edition, late nineteenth century, 19 x 14 cm.
In this series of 80 prints, Goya was the first to use the term caprichos (caprices, whims, fantasies) to denote satire and social commentary. "The author is convinced," he wrote, "that it is as proper for painting to criticize human error and vice as for poetry and prose to do so." Here a jackass in suit and shoes takes his patient's pulse.
Goya, Un enano (A Dwarf), original etching, 1778-79. First edition, 21 x 15 cm.
This copy of a painting by Velazquez – one of Goya's acknowledged masters – depicts Sebastian de Morra. At court in Renaissance and Baroque Europe, it was customary for monarchs to “collect” jesters and dwarves for their amusement. Although deprived of the dignity of a chair, Morra looks anything but submissive, and regards the viewer critically.
Goya, Un enano (A Dwarf), original etching, 1778-79. First edition, 22 x 16 cm.
This copy of a painting by Velazquez – one of Goya's acknowledged masters – depicts Diego de Acedo, who holds a book on his lap with an inkpot in reach. At court in Renaissance and Baroque Europe, it was customary for monarchs to “collect” jesters and dwarves for their amusement. The artist is at pains to depict this gentleman of small stature as literate and cultivated.
Goya, Los caprichos, plate 43, El sueño de la razón produce monstruous (The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters), original etching and aquatint, 1796-97. Second edition, 1856, 19 x 13 cm.
From Goya's comments: “The author dreaming. His only intention is to banish harmful superstitions and to perpetuate . . . the solid testimony of truth.” Bats approach as the owl – an emblem of stupidity in Goya's time – proffers an artist's chalk. Meanwhile the lynx, a symbol of wisdom, sees a path in the darkness.
Goya, Los caprichos, plate 58, Trágala perro (Swallow It, Dog), original etching, burnished aquatint, and drypoint, 1796-97. Second edition, 1856, 19 x 13 cm.
In Goya's comment, “He who lives amongst men will be irremediably vexed,” he makes a play on two meanings of the word ‘jeringar’ – to syringe or to vex. Here ecclesiastics of the Spanish Inquisition attempt to force a clyster (an enema syringe) on their victim.
Goya, Los desastres de la guerra (Disasters of War), plate 25, Tambien estos (These too), original etching, drypoint, and burin, posthumous 1862-63. Fifth edition, late nineteenth century, 12 x 19 cm.
Here, for the first time, war was shown as inglorious and pathetic. Before Nightingale's reforms in the mid-nineteenth century, there were no professional nurses in military hospitals, and the patients languished. These soldiers were wounded in Napoleon's invasion and occupation of Spain (1808-1814).