Water Carrier (1808 – 1812) by Francisco Goya

Water Carrier - Francisco Goya - 1808 - 1812

Artwork Information

TitleWater Carrier
ArtistFrancisco Goya
Date1808 - 1812
Dimensions68 x 52 cm
Art MovementRomanticism

About Water Carrier

The artwork “Water Carrier” is a genre painting by the distinguished Spanish artist Francisco Goya, created between the years 1808 and 1812. Executed in oil on canvas during the Romanticism movement, the piece measures 68 x 52 cm. This work is illustrative of the period’s focus on the expression of emotion and everyday human experience.

In embarking upon a detailed description of the artwork, one observes a central figure of a woman standing erect and facing the viewer. She is dressed in period attire, which features a white blouse with rolled-up sleeves revealing her bare forearms, a yellow apron, and a dark red skirt. The blouse’s fabric appears soft, allowing the viewer to sense the texture through Goya’s skilled brushwork. Her apron is tied around her waist with a sense of practicality, indicative of her working-class status. The rich red of the skirt brings a warmness that contrasts with the neutrality of the background.

The water carrier holds an earthenware jug with a clear sense of weight and significance, possibly signifying the value of water as a vital resource. Her grip on the jug is both sturdy and delicate, suggesting a daily familiarity with the task. In her other hand, she firmly grasps a small wicker basket, further indicating her role as a bearer of necessities.

The woman’s facial expression conveys a sense of resilience and acceptance of her role in life, as well as an undefined contemplation, engaging the onlooker with a direct yet subtle gaze. The painting is remarkable for its portrayal of character and the representation of the human condition—an embodiment of Romanticism’s inclination to delve into the psychological depth of individuals and their socio-historical contexts. The background is subdued, a muted amalgamation of greys and shadows that throws the figure into prominent relief, while also allowing her humanity to dominate the canvas undistractedly.

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