A False Bacchus Crowning Drunkards

Goya (Francisco de Goya y Lucientes) Spanish
After Velázquez (Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez) Spanish

Not on view

Rendering Velázquez’s complex composition in etching presented Goya with a considerable challenge. His determination to analyze and understand the painting—its interlocking forms and varied expressions—is evident in his preparatory drawing. Notwithstanding Goya’s careful observation, both the drawing and the print depart from the model. In the print, the figures are distinctly rougher and more brazen. Velázquez’s Bacchus is a fleshy, distracted youth, shown crowning a figure who kneels before him. Goya rendered the god as more mature and shrewd, in league with those around him, whose inebriation is also more pronounced. These modifications appear intentional; Goya may have felt empowered to submit his own reading, just as Velázquez did by surrounding his classical god with figures that were recognizably of the seventeenth century.

A False Bacchus Crowning Drunkards, Goya (Francisco de Goya y Lucientes) (Spanish, Fuendetodos 1746–1828 Bordeaux), Etching

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