Sleep overcomes them (1799) by Francisco Goya

Sleep overcomes them - Francisco Goya - 1799

Artwork Information

TitleSleep overcomes them
ArtistFrancisco Goya
Date1799
Mediumetching,paper
Dimensions21.9 x 20 cm
Art MovementRomanticism
Current LocationKunsthalle Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany

About Sleep overcomes them

The artwork “Sleep overcomes them” was created by Francisco Goya in 1799 as part of his renowned series “Los caprichos.” This etching on paper is an expression of the Romanticism art movement and has the dimensions of 21.9 x 20 cm. It can be characterized under the genre of caricature, and it currently resides at the Kunsthalle Hamburg in Hamburg, Germany.

The artwork depicts a scene of extreme fatigue or possibly lethargy. In the foreground, several figures are slumped over, seemingly overtaken by sleep. The individual in the back appears to be in a state of distress or deep contemplation, with their hand to their forehead. A grid or barred structure can be partially seen in the background, which may represent confinement or institutionalization. The etching conveys a palpable sense of exhaustion and perhaps metaphorical commentary on the human condition, social issues, or political circumstances of the time. The contrast between light and shadow is used effectively to emphasize the depth and the figures’ heaviness in their sleep-like state. The caption “Las rinde el Sueño” can be translated as “Sleep overcomes them,” reinforcing the portrayal of overwhelming slumber.

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