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Caprichos: For Heaven's Sake: and it Was Her Mother (Dios la perdone: Y era su madre)

Caprichos: For Heaven's Sake: and it Was Her Mother (Dios la perdone: Y era su madre), c. 1798

Francisco de Goya y Lucientes
Spanish, 1746-1828
Etching, aquatint and drypoint on laid paper; before letters and number
plate: 20 x 15 cm. (7 7/8 x 5 7/8 in); sheet: 27.6 x 19.8 cm. (10 7/8 x 7 13/16 in)
The Norton Simon Foundation
© The Norton Simon Foundation

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Goya was the foremost Spanish artist of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Born in northern Spain, Goya lived through one of Europe's most volatile periods, including the French Revolution, Napoleon's occupation of Spain, and the ensuing civil war. Although Goya was a court favorite, employed by royalty and aristocrats, he opposed Spain's severe political and social climate, and often included witty critiques of his own clients in his work.

"Los Caprichos," printed in 1799, was Goya's first important series of prints. These satirical caricatures boldly attack the attitudes, morals, and behaviors of the church, the Inquisition, the government, and the royal family, though Goya himself referred to them as merely "a collection of whimsical subjects." The series sold poorly and Goya was forced to remove them from the market after only two days. Ironically, the plates and remaining prints were given to the king in 1803 in exchange for a pension for Goya's son.

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