What a golden beak! (1799) by Francisco Goya

What a golden beak! - Francisco Goya - 1799

Artwork Information

TitleWhat a golden beak!
ArtistFrancisco Goya
Dimensions21.9 x 15.2 cm
Art MovementRomanticism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About What a golden beak!

The artwork titled “What a golden beak!” was created by the artist Francisco Goya in 1799. This etching on paper is part of the Romanticism art movement and belongs to the genre of caricature. Measuring 21.9 cm by 15.2 cm, it is one of the works from the series “Los Caprichos” and is presently housed within a private collection.

The artwork portrays a scene that appears to be a commentary on social or political behavior, a common trait in Goya’s “Los Caprichos” series. In the etching, we see a congregation of figures, likely representing a cross-section of society or perhaps specific social archetypes, gathered around in what seems to be an attentive manner. There is an owl perched atop what might be a lectern or pulpit, holding a twig or some object. The owl’s prominence in the scene, along with the title, suggests it may symbolize a figure of authority or deception, as owls were often used in art to represent wisdom or folly. The facial expressions of the surrounding figures add to the satirical tone, with varied reactions that could indicate bemusement, skepticism, or credulity.

Below the depiction is the inscription “Que pico de Oro!”, which translates to “What a golden beak!”, a phrase that further hints at the theme of the etching, potentially alluding to the idea of persuasive or deceptive speech. Overall, the artwork employs a dark and dramatic atmosphere, characteristic of Goya’s etchings, to deliver a critical message wrapped in metaphorical imagery.

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