Los Caprichos


Los Caprichos (The caprices or whims) is the first of four large series of engravings done by Francisco de Goya (1746−1828), together with Los desastres de la guerra (The disasters of war), La tauromaquia (Bullfighting), and Los disparates (The follies). The scenes come in part from the drawings that the artist produced in Andalusia and Madrid in 1796–97, which are included in the Sanlúcar Album (Album A) and Madrid Album (Album B), as well as from his drawing series known as Sueños (Dreams). In the introductory text the series is defined as “the censorship of human errors and vices.” Each print is accompanied by a caption, providing an ironic and comical commentary. The series offers a harsh critique of the society of the time, utilizing a highly imaginative approach—the images range from realistic to oneiric. Most of the images were created as etchings, using the aquatint technique, and were completed using burin and/or dry point. The series was released in February of 1799 in the newspaper Diario de Madrid. It was also sold in a perfume shop in Desengaño no. 1 (1, Disenchantment Street), which was where Goya lived at the time. It is believed that around 300 copies were made of this first edition. Four years later, Goya gave King Carlos IV the original plates, together with 240 copies of the work, in exchange for a pension for his son Javier. The exact number of editions made between the first one in 1799 and the last one in 1937 is unknown; 12 have been identified, but probably more were produced. Today, the original plates are preserved in the National Engraving Museum of the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts.

Last updated: March 24, 2015