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

The Forge

c. 1819
Oil on canvas, 191 x 121 cm
Frick Collection, New York

The group of blacksmiths is based on a brown wash drawing of Three Men Digging (Metropolitan Museum, New York), which belonged to an album dated 1819 by Carderera. Goya has adapted the figures in such a way that the painting, like the drawing, gives the impression of a study from life. The subject is of a kind that he frequently recorded in drawings; there are many similar documentary scenes of men and women of the people in the 1819 series. As a subject The Forge is distantly related to The Injured Mason and similar in character to the small Water-carrier and Knife-grinder (Szepmuveszeti Museum, Budapest), which were in the artist's possession in 1812. However it is unique in Goya's oeuvre as a large-scale close-up view of men at work. The late sketchy style emphasizes the brutish appearance of all three figures and the attitudes of the blacksmiths, suggestive of enormous strength.

The Forge was undoubtedly an uncommissioned painting, which passed into the possession of Goya's son. It was later in the collection of King Louis Philippe and was sold at Christie's in 1853 for L10.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.