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Brush and black and gray wash
Sheet: 23.5 x 14.5 cm (9 1/4 x 5 11/16 in.); Image: 18.7 x 12 cm (7 3/8 x 4 3/4 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 1995.15
Among the great figures of the pictorial arts in the West, Francisco de Goya is one of the very few whose work as a graphic artist is arguably even more important than his paintings. Alongside a prodigious output of prints, he created eight sketchbooks of drawings over the course of 30 years. This double-sided sheet comes from the so-called Album B, or Madrid Album, which, like all of them, was scattered throughout the world in public and private collections after his death. The drawings reveal Goya’s powers of invention and observation, and his biting satire. On the recto side of the sheet, a vulgar encounter between a prostitute and a pot-bellied lecher reveals the bluntness of the Goya’s social criticism. The verso drawing is less easily pinned down, though it follows traditional iconography for representations of Saint Margaret of Cortona, a nobleman’s mistress who repented and entered a convent after her lover’s dog led her to his murdered corpse.
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