Witches’ Sabbath / The Great He-Goat (1821 – 1823) by Francisco Goya

Witches' Sabbath / The Great He-Goat - Francisco Goya - 1821 - 1823

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Artwork Information

TitleWitches' Sabbath / The Great He-Goat
ArtistFrancisco Goya
Date1821 - 1823
Dimensions438 x 140 cm
Art MovementRomanticism
Current LocationMuseo del Prado, Madrid, Spain

About Witches' Sabbath / The Great He-Goat

The artwork, “Witches’ Sabbath / The Great He-Goat” by Francisco Goya, is a profound example of Romanticism that was created in the period between 1821 and 1823. It is a mythological painting, executed using oil on canvas and plaster with dimensions of 438 x 140 cm. This piece forms part of Goya’s “Black Paintings” series and is currently housed at the Museo del Prado in Madrid, Spain.

The artwork presents a deeply somber and enigmatic scene, dominated by dark tones and shadowy figures. At the center, it features a towering, sinister figure of a goat, which is often interpreted as representing the Devil or a pagan deity. This central figure commands attention amidst a crowd of individuals that can be described as adoring or fearful worshippers. The group is composed of a mix of haggard and distorted faces, many of which wear expressions of awe, devotion, or horror. The scene is suffused with a sense of the occult and the macabre, encapsulating the pessimistic atmosphere that pervades many of Goya’s later works. The ghastly palette and the rough, almost aggressive brushwork contribute to the unsettling and chaotic feel of the sabbath, suggesting a scene of depravity and moral corruption that critiques superstition and the darker aspects of human nature.

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