It is better to be idle (1799) by Francisco Goya

It is better to be idle - Francisco Goya - 1799

Artwork Information

TitleIt is better to be idle
ArtistFrancisco Goya
Dimensions21.9 x 15.2 cm
Art MovementRomanticism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About It is better to be idle

The artwork titled “It is better to be idle” is an etching on paper created by the esteemed artist Francisco Goya in 1799. Measuring 21.9 cm by 15.2 cm, this work is part of the renowned series “Los caprichos” and is currently held in a private collection. The piece reflects the Romanticism movement and falls within the genre of caricature, which Goya so masterfully represented during his prolific career.

The artwork presents a scene with three figures. In the foreground, a gentleman is seen engaging with a woman who is mostly obscured by a large, cone-like structure, which appears to be a traditional mantilla or cloak. Both of their expressions suggest a private interaction, possibly of a clandestine or intimate nature. To the right stands another woman with a direct gaze towards the viewer, her posture erect with an air of confidence and possibly a hint of judgment or detachment. This woman’s expression and stance create a stark contrast with the implied secrecy of the other two figures. Goya’s astute use of light and shadow, combined with his line work, enhances the depth and texture of the characters’ clothing and the surrounding environment. The artwork’s title, “It is better to be idle,” seemingly a phrase inscribed within the piece itself, invites contemplation on the virtues or vices of idleness, perhaps critiquing societal expectations or behaviors of the time.

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