Witches Ready to Fly (1796 – 1797) by Francisco Goya

Witches Ready to Fly - Francisco Goya - 1796 - 1797

Artwork Information

TitleWitches Ready to Fly
ArtistFrancisco Goya
Date1796 - 1797
Art MovementRomanticism

About Witches Ready to Fly

The artwork titled “Witches Ready to Fly” is an etching on paper created by the illustrious artist Francisco Goya between the years 1796 and 1797. This piece is deeply rooted in the Romanticism art movement and is characterized as a caricature. The work illustrates Goya’s exploration of the supernatural and societal attitudes towards witchcraft.

Upon examining the artwork, one is confronted with a scene of three figures shrouded in darkness, evoking a sense of mystery and foreboding. The central subject appears gaunt and enthralled by a large, open book held by two other figures wearing conical hats, suggestive of traditional depictions of witches. The entirety of the composition is steeped in dark, muted tones, barely illuminating the figures and highlighting the ominous mood.

These figures are situated within an ambiguous setting, which does little to provide context, further enhancing the surreal and enigmatic quality of the work. A human skull rests near the foreground, reinforcing the macabre theme and suggesting the ever-present notion of mortality. The inscription “Brujas a volar,” assumes a narrative role, indicating a connection to witchcraft and possibly an incantation or reference to the supernatural ability to fly.

Notably, Goya’s adept use of light and shadow crafts a sense of depth and contributes to the unsettling atmosphere. The delicate yet intentional lines of the etching technique convey texture and movement, allowing the eyes of the beholder to wander over the forms, pondering their story and purpose. Through this artwork, Goya adeptly comments on the superstitions of his time, capturing the viewer’s imagination with a scene that is at once fantastical and unnervingly real.

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