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Caprichos: Those Specks of Dust (Aquellos polbos)

Caprichos: Those Specks of Dust (Aquellos polbos), 1799

Francisco de Goya y Lucientes
Spanish, 1746-1828
Etching, burnished aquatint, drypoint, and burin with watercolor additions on laid paper
plate: 21.5 x 15 cm. (8 7/16 x 5 7/8 in); sheet: 28.8 x 20.5 cm. (11 5/16 x 8 1/16 in)
The Norton Simon Foundation
© The Norton Simon Foundation

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This image is one of two from "Los Caprichos" that deal directly with the Inquisition. In this work, Goya boldly attacks the arbitrary justice of the Inquisition by depicting the plight of a known personality of the day. The prisoner on trial here is Perico, a disabled woman who was arrested for selling love potions. She appears in front of a mob of officials robed in the typical penitential uniform called "San Benito." She sits hunched over, as if condemned in advance. Goya remarked: "Badly done! To treat an honorable woman in this way, a woman who for nothing served everyone so well and so usefully. Badly done!"

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