The blind guitarist (El ciego de la guitarra)

Artist: Goya (Francisco de Goya y Lucientes) (Spanish, Fuendetodos 1746–1828 Bordeaux)

Date: ca. 1778

Medium: Etching; working proof touched with graphite

Dimensions: Sheet: 14 in. × 21 5/8 in. (35.5 × 55 cm)

Classification: Prints

Credit Line: Purchase, Jacob H. Schiff Bequest, 1922

Accession Number: 22.63.29


In the spring of 1778 Goya submitted an oil cartoon depcting the blind guitatist to the Royal Tapestry Factory of Santa Barbara in Madrid for it to be woven into a tapestry. Because of the complexity of the design it proved too difficult for the weavers to interpret and alterations had to be made. This etching - his largest ever and the only print after one of his own works - is thought to record his first design before he modified it. The modified cartoon is today in the Museo del Prado, Madrid. Goya recognized the ability of the etching medium to convey minute detail and in this print, he emphasises the different expressions of those surrounding the guitarist. Few impresions of this print are known. This is a working proof touched by the artist with graphite.