Boys playing soldiers (1779) by Francisco Goya

Boys playing soldiers - Francisco Goya - 1779

Artwork Information

TitleBoys playing soldiers
ArtistFrancisco Goya
Dimensions146 x 94 cm
Art MovementRomanticism

About Boys playing soldiers

The artwork titled “Boys playing soldiers” is an oil on canvas painting created by the renowned artist Francisco Goya in the year 1779. Measuring 146 by 94 centimeters, this piece is associated with the Romanticism art movement and classified as a genre painting, capturing a scene from everyday life with a particular narrative characteristic of the time.

This artwork depicts three young boys engaged in the play of mimicry, imitating the actions of soldiers. In the foreground, a boy lies prone with an open book, suggesting a strategy or rules being referenced for their game. He looks attentively at the viewer, drawing us into the scene. To his left, a standing boy is dressed in a soldier’s garb with a shako hat and holds a wooden musket. His expression is one of pride and joy, emphasizing the innocence and pleasures of childhood. The third boy, seated to the right, beats a makeshift drum, carrying a happy and focused expression. Their play is set within an idyllic outdoor environment, verdant with leafy trees, which serves as a natural backdrop to their youthful camaraderie and imaginations at play. The use of light, shadow, and rich color within the painting highlights the youthful exuberance and dramatic play of the children, all against the rococo style that was typical in the late 18th century, prior to the full establishment of Romanticism.

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