What a sacrifice! (1799) by Francisco Goya

What a sacrifice! - Francisco Goya - 1799

Artwork Information

TitleWhat a sacrifice!
ArtistFrancisco Goya
Dimensions21.5 x 15.5 cm
Art MovementRomanticism

About What a sacrifice!

The artwork titled “What a sacrifice!” is a creation by the eminent Spanish artist Francisco Goya, dating back to 1799. This piece is a part of Goya’s notable series “Los Caprichos” and showcases the artistic techniques of aquatint and etching on paper. Measuring 21.5 x 15.5 cm, this work falls under the genre of caricature and is influenced by the Romanticism movement, which often explored complex emotional states and societal critiques.

The artwork portrays a scene of societal mockery, featuring a group of figures gathered closely with their attention focused on a young woman. At the forefront, a man is seen on his knees, appearing to make a dramatic gesture or plea towards the woman standing before him. Her posture and the angle of her head suggest reluctance or resignation to the situation. The surrounding individuals, varying in age and expression, look on with various degrees of interest and amusement, emphasizing the caricature nature of the piece.

Goya’s use of shading and detail in the etching process conveys a sense of depth and texture, while the expressions captured suggest a narrative involving sacrifice, maybe in a social or relational context. The title, written at the bottom of the artwork, hints at an ironic or critical tone, suggesting that the idea of “sacrifice” may not be as noble or serious as traditionally perceived. As part of the “Los Caprichos” series, this work is characteristic of Goya’s critical eye on the follies and vices of his society.

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