This is plate number 12 from the series of Goya's 80 aquatint etchings published as Los Caprichos in 1799. Here a young woman pulls the teeth from a hanged man because of their value in sorcery. She stands on tip-toes and covers her face in fear. Goya uses the aquatint and contrasting white ground of the paper to great effect in creating dramatic nocturnal effects. Goya treated the subject of superstition and witchcraft in a number of prints in the series. A manuscript dating to around 1799-1803, provides explanations for each plate. The explanation for this plate reads 'The teeth of a hanged man are very efficacious for sorceries; without this ingredient there is not much you can do. What a pity the common people should believe such nonsense.' The basis for many of the prints in the Caprichos can be found in an album of drawings Goya made in Madrid around 1796-98 that is now broken up (known as Album B) sixteen of which are in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum.
Inscription: Lettered on plate with number '12' and title 'A caza de dientes.'
Marking: Paul J. Sachs 1878-1965 (Lugt 2091) in brown ink, verso
Paul J. Sachs; Knoedler and Co.; Donor: Knoedler and Co.
Le Peintre-Graveur Illustré (XIXe et XXe siècles). vol. 15, Paris, 1922.
Tomás Harris Goya: Engravings and Lithographs Vol. I: Text and Illustrations; Vol.II: Catalogue Raisonné. Oxford, 1964.
Colta Ives, Susan Alyson Stein Goya in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., September 12 - December 31. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1995, fig. no. 7, p. 19, ill.
Javier Blas, José Manuel Matilla, José Miguel Medrano El libro de los Caprichos. Francisco de Goya: Dos siglos de interpretaciones (1799-1999). Catálogo de los dibujos, pruebas de estado, láminas de cobre y estampas de la primera edición. Madrid, 1999.
Artist: Goya (Francisco de Goya y Lucientes) (Spanish, Fuendetodos 1746–1828 Bordeaux)Date: ca. 1819–23Medium: Brush, black ink, and wash on Netherlandish laid paperAccession: 19.27On view in:Not on view