What Will he Die? (1799) by Francisco Goya

What Will he Die? - Francisco Goya - 1799

Artwork Information

TitleWhat Will he Die?
ArtistFrancisco Goya
Date1799
Mediumetching,paper
Dimensions21.5 x 15.5 cm
Art MovementRomanticism
Current LocationPrivate Collection
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About What Will he Die?

The artwork titled “What Will he Die?” is an etching on paper created by the esteemed artist Francisco Goya in 1799. This work is a part of the “Los caprichos” series and falls within the Romanticism movement. It possesses the dimensions of 21.5 cm by 15.5 cm and is classified under the caricature genre. Currently, the artwork resides within a private collection.

The etching depicts a scene where a figure with a donkey’s head, dressed in contemporary clothing of Goya’s time, is seen taking a pulse of a patient. In the background, another shadowy figure observes the scene. The artwork employs strong contrasts of light and dark, creating dramatic emphasis typical of the Romantic period and effectively conveys a critique, likely of the practitioners or the nature of medical knowledge of the time. The caption “De que mal morira?” meaning “Of what ill will he die?” suggests a satirical take on the uncertainties and, possibly, the incompetence in the practice of medicine or the superstitions surrounding illness and death during the artist’s era. Goya’s work is often known for its critical reflections on society, culture, and politics, held within subtle yet poignant imagery.

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