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Black and grey banner for the Francisco Goya Prints website featuring Francisco Goya's signature on the left side and the words Francisco Goya Prints at the National Library of Medicine History of Medicine Reading Room September 20-October 29, 2004.

Francisco Goya Prints

A donkey is taking the pulse of a man lying on a bed; the man appears to be dead.

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.

Seated figure of a man; full face.

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.

Seated figure of a man with a large open book on his lap and an inkpot within reach.

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.

A man sitting with his head down on a desk, has visions of owls and bats flying at him from behind; a large cat lying on the floor has lifted its head as though sensing movement in the air.

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.

Men dressed in clerical robes (ecclesiastics of the Spanish Inquisition) attempt to force a clyster on another man who is begging for mercy.

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.

Interior view of an eighteenth century military hospital - patients languish in a military hospital.

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).