Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes is often considered to be Spain’s most important and iconic artist. Not only was Goya a skilled painter who served three monarchs, but a master printmaker, who produced a number of phenomenal etching series.
Might not the pupil know more? plate 37 Los Caprichos. 1799 etching
“Y no hay remedio” / And it can’t be helped. Plate 15. Disasters of War. etching. Printed in 1863, Madrid
In 1799 Goya proceeded to release his first etching series, Los Caprichos (The Caprices), which consisted of 80 plates that documented the “follies” or foolishness of civilized society.
Following the Peninsular War (1808-1814) Goya created his next major etching series, Los Desastres de la Guerra (The Disasters of War). His final etching series were La Tauromaquia (The Bullfight) and Los Disparates (The Follies). Goya also completed a series of lithographs titled, The Bulls of Bordeaux, after moving to France in the 1820s.
Esto es peor / This is worse. Plate 37. Disasters of War. etching. Printed in 1863, Madrid
The Daring of the Martincho in the Ring at Sargossa. Plate 18. La Tauromaquia
Plate 4. Bulls of Bordeaux. Lithograph
Goya prints are so popular that they have been reprinted several of times over the years. Generally, first edition prints are the most valuable, followed by second, third, etc. The print editions can often be distinguished by the type of paper used, the tint of the ink, the addition of a small printer’s stamp, or watermark. In many cases there are only subtle differences between the first two editions. By the third edition, the prints begin to lose some of their detail or richness. In addition to official editions printed in the years following Goya’s death, printers have released commemorative editions in more recent years. Goya’s etchings are currently in museum and library collections around the world. Individual etchings often turn up unexpectedly in family collections or estate sales.