The worst is to beg (1812 – 1815) by Francisco Goya

The worst is to beg - Francisco Goya - 1812 - 1815

Artwork Information

TitleThe worst is to beg
ArtistFrancisco Goya
Date1812 - 1815
Dimensions20.5 x 15.5 cm
Art MovementRomanticism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About The worst is to beg

“The worst is to beg” is an etching by the renowned Spanish artist Francisco Goya, created between 1812 and 1815. The artwork is a part of the “The Disasters of War” series, which is a visual condemnation of the atrocities of the Peninsular War. Crafted with the techniques of etching and lavis on paper, the artwork measures 20.5 by 15.5 cm and is currently held in a private collection. Goya’s work here is reflective of the Romanticism movement and is categorized as a caricature, expressing social commentary through exaggerated and distorted figures.

The artwork portrays a somber and distressing scene filled with figures that bear expressions of despair and suffering. The central figure appears to be a woman situated prominently in the foreground, her back to the viewer, providing a focal point around which other figures are arranged. The anguish on the faces of the surrounding individuals is palpable, with signs of starvation and exhaustion etched into their features, suggesting the dire circumstances they find themselves in. The use of strong contrasts between light and dark areas highlights the bleakness and drama of the scene, a hallmark of Goya’s later works. The disheveled appearance of the characters and the lack of a clear setting creates a universal message about the human cost of war and the degradation that accompanies the act of begging. The title, “The worst is to beg,” encapsulates the sense of indignity and tragedy conveyed by the composition, making it a powerful statement on the condition of the vulnerable during times of conflict.

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