“Facets of Conscience. Goya’s Los Caprichos” opened last week at the National Museum of Art, in the Kretzulescu rooms. The exhibition showcases 80 engravings from the famous Los Caprichos series by the Spanish painter Francisco de Goya (1746-1828). Goya used Los Caprichos (which would loosely be translated as “whims” in English) as a pretext for social satire. With these works, he mocks the weaknesses and vices of human nature such as corruption, prostitution, vanity and stupidity. However, his irony is not directed only against the masses but also against the upper echelons – high dignitaries, the clergy and the aristocracy. The first 36 images focus on topics such as love and the mis-education of children. The engravings numbered 37 to 42 contain scenes in which the main characters are donkeys, who stand for imposture in several areas of public and private life. In the last 38 works, Goya depicts a surreal world of spirits, wizards, monks and monsters.
The provocative content of Los Caprichos attracted the fury of the inquisition, which forbade their distribution. Goya gifted the works to the King to save the series.
The engravings are accompanied by the painter’s commentaries which shed light on the enigmatic titles and opaque messages. The exhibition will run until May 30.