Francisco Goya Y Lucientes (Self-Portrait), Plate 1 of Los Caprichos

Reference URL

Francisco Goya Y Lucientes (Self-Portrait), Plate 1 of Los Caprichos 1797
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.

Glossary Open


A form of printmaking in which a metal plate is covered with a substance called a 'ground', usually wax, into which an image is drawn with a needle. Acid is applied, eroding the areas of the plate exposed but not the areas covered by wax. The action of the acid creates lines in the metal plate that hold the ink from which a print is made when the plate is pressed against paper under pressure.


An image pressed or stamped onto paper or fabric. This encompasses a wide variety of techniques, usually produced in multiples, although one-off prints, known as monoprints, are also included. The term is also applied to photographic images.

Etching, Print


  • Acc. No. GOYA.146
  • Medium Etching, aquatint, drypoint and burin on paper
  • Size 21.50 x 15.00 cm
  • Credit Purchased 1949