Three stages of Goya’s most famous etching.
The man asleep at his desk is Goya himself. There are two self-portraits above the sleeping painter and various animal studies, such as the paws and snout of a dog; a horse’s head; a bull’s head.
Beneath him is a drawing board and his box of colors.
In this second preparatory sketch for the etching Goya has simplified the design and written on it: “Dreams. The Universal Language.”
“The author dreaming. He only means to exile harmful commonplaces and to perpetuate with this work of Caprichos the solid testimony of truth.”
He has changed the clasped hands, which might seem suppliant. An enormous bat with a woman’s breasts now fills the center of the picture.
Here is the final etching for his collection called the Caprichos, which means something like “ fantasies”.
The large bat has disappeared. The sleeping man is no longer the artist but Everyman, though the draftsman’s pen and chalk are back on the table. Written on its side are the words: The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters.
Goya began to make the etchings for the collection called Caprichos when he was about 50. His illness of three or four years back had left him deaf.