Painter of the Week: Francisco de Goya. Today: The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters. c. 1799. Etching, aquatint, drypoint and burin. 21.5 cm × 15 cm (8 7/16 in × 5 7/8 in). Museo del Prado. Madrid
The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters (Spanish: El sueño de la razón produce monstruos) is an etching made by the Spanish painter and printmaker Francisco Goya. Created between 1797 and 1799, it is plate 43 of the 80 etchings making up the suite of satires Los Caprichos. Goya imagines himself asleep amidst his drawing tools, his reason dulled by slumber and bedeviled by creatures that prowl in the dark. The work includes owls that may be symbols of folly and bats symbolising ignorance. The artist’s nightmare reflected his view of Spanish society, which he portrayed in the Los Caprichos as demented, corrupt, and ripe for ridicule.
Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (30 March 1746 – 16 April 1828) was a Spanish romantic painter and printmaker regarded both as the last of the Old Masters and the first of the moderns. Goya was court painter to the Spanish Crown; throughout the Peninsular War he remained in Madrid, where he painted the portrait of Joseph Bonaparte, pretender to the Spanish throne, and documented the war in the masterpiece of studied ambiguity known as the Desastres de la Guerra. Through his works he was both a commentator on and chronicler of his era. The subversive imaginative element in his art, as well as his bold handling of paint, provided a model for the work of artists of later generations, notably Manet, Picasso and Francis Bacon.