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

The Injured Mason

Oil on canvas, 268 x 110 cm
Museo del Prado, Madrid

This belongs to the same series of cartoons as The Snowstorm and was also the model for a tapestry to decorate the dining-room in the Palace of El Pardo. The scene of an accident is even more unusual as palace decoration than The Snowstorm or Poor Children at the Fountain, another cartoon in the series. The dramatic subject has been related to an edict of Charles III, first published in 1778, concerning building construction and specifying how scaffolding should be erected 'to avoid accidents and the death of workmen'. In the sketch for the cartoon (also in the Prado), purchased by the Duke of Osuna in 1799, the two men carrying the 'injured' mason have jovial expressions, which have given rise to its modern title The Drunken Mason. Many years later Goya returned to the subject of a building site with elaborate scaffolding, in a drawing now in the Metropolitan Museum.