In this self-portrait Goya has depicted himself at the age of fifty-one. This was the first etching in a series he created called Los caprichos (the caprices or fantasies). Los caprichos are a remarkable group of 80 works, which explore dramatic and irrational themes; they were the first series of etchings Goya produced for sale as a single set. They were made at a time of social upheaval and economic crisis in Spain, and reflect Goya’s own liberal beliefs about how society must change in order to progress. The prints address a range of themes that largely deal with human vice, from the Spanish Inquisition and church corruption, to child rearing. The various ‘scenes’ are acted out by a diverse cast that includes animals, goblins, fools and monks.