May the rope break (1815 – 1820) by Francisco Goya

May the rope break - Francisco Goya - 1815 - 1820

Artwork Information

TitleMay the rope break
ArtistFrancisco Goya
Date1815 - 1820
Dimensions15.5 x 22 cm
Art MovementRomanticism

About May the rope break

The artwork “May the rope break” was created by the acclaimed Spanish artist Francisco Goya between the years 1815 and 1820. It is a piece of Romanticism and was executed using the mediums of aquatint and etching on paper. The work’s dimensions are 15.5 cm by 22 cm, and it belongs to the genre of caricature, suggesting a satirical or critical intent behind the illustration.

The artwork features a central figure, balanced precariously on a taut rope. This person exudes a sense of dynamic movement, with a flowing cape and outstretched arms, as if caught in mid-performance. Below the tightrope walker is a crowd of onlookers, rendered with a variety of expressions that range from enjoyment to apprehension. The artist has masterfully captured the tension of the moment, with the audience’s gazes fixated upon the tightrope walker whose fate, symbolically speaking, hangs in the balance.

Goya’s etching is imbued with drama and a certain darkness that is characteristic of his later works, representing a complex interplay between the individual and society, as well as touching on themes of human frailty and the capricious nature of fate. It is a powerful and evocative example of Goya’s skill in conveying narrative and emotion through his mastery of the aquatint and etching techniques.

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