GOYA Y LUCIENTES, Francisco de
(b. 1746, Fuendetodos, d. 1828, Bordeaux)

The sleep of reason produces monsters

1797-98
Etching and aquatint, 216 x 152 mm
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This is Plate 43 from the series Los Caprichos.

Sinister creatures of the night torment the artist - presumably Goya himself - who lies slumped over his table, unable to work. Yet the real clue to Goya's print lies in its subtitle: 'Imagination abandoned by reason produces impossible monsters; united with her, she is the mother of the arts.'

The etching of the sleeping artist, threatened by fantastical faces, was originally intended to open the Caprichos series. Goya later decided to replace it with a self-portrait, the picture of a self-assured man dressed in a top and wearing a critical expression.

The title of the plate can be read on the stone.