Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes

Los Caprichos (The Caprices) –
Plate 78: Be quick, they are waking up

1797 - 1798 etchings with aquatint and colour on paper

The goblins are the most industrious and obliging people there are. As the maid keeps them happy, they scour the pot, cook the vegetables, wash up, sweep and hush the child. It has often been disputed whether they are devils or not; don’t let us deceive ourselves. Devils are those who spend their time doing harm, or hindering others from doing good, or doing nothing at all. 

Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828) was a legendary Spanish painter and printmaker who is renowned as the first ‘modern’ artist. Goya’s late artworks were sombre and pessimistic, illustrating his bleak view of disparaging social and political climates. Although many of his personal standpoints no longer exist in written form, the artworks tell Goya’s stories. These, along with Goya’s life, were a significant influence on Salvador Dalí.

Goya’s etching suite, Los Caprichos (The Caprices) was made in 1797 to 1798 before being published in book form in 1799. The set of eighty prints is Goya’s satirical response and experiment to reveal the immeasurable follies, deceitful manners, and self-obsession found in Spanish culture at the time, along with social superstitions. However due to the political climate, he had to disguise the implied depictions within the artworks.