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The Sleep of Reason produces monsters. Etching by Goya 1796

Francisco Goya y Lucientes


Free to use with attribution CC BYCredit: Wellcome Collection
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El sueño de la razon produce monstrusos. "The sleep of reason produces monsters." A man asleep dreaming of monsters with giant bats encircling him. "Los Caprichos" are a set of eighty etchings/aquatints made by Francisco Goya y Lucientes between the years 1796-98. They were first published and advertised for sale in Madrid papers in 1799. Very few copies were purchased and in 1803, having sold only twenty-seven copies, Goya offered the copperplates together with 240 unsold sets to Charles IV in exchange for a pension for his son, Javier. The next edition was published in the mid-nineteenth century and the last edition was made in Madrid in 1937, during the Spanish Civil War. Wellcome holds an incomplete set of late edition. Goya made these prints after a serious illness that rendered him deaf. The prints are of satirical nature, part fantasy being full of witches, monsters, grosteques, prostitutes and part men part beast figures. They were in part a series of caricatures which satirise the vices and follies of Spanish society, illustrated by witches sporting monk's habits. The words of the inscriptions themselves imply double meanings, which reinforce the satire English translation of lettering: "The sleep of reason induces monstrous thoughts" Bears number: 43


El sueño de la razon produce monstrusos.


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The Sleep of Reason produces monsters. Etching by Goya 1796. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY

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