About This Artwork

Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes
Spanish, 1746-1828

There They Go Plucked (i.e. fleeced), plate 20 from Los Caprichos, 1797/99

Etching and aquatint on ivory laid paper
198 x 133 mm (image); 218 x 152 mm (plate); 300 x 207 mm (sheet)

Clarence Buckingham Collection, 1948.110.20

In Los caprichos (meaning caprices or whims), a series of etchings by Francisco de Goya, the artist presented his veiled criticisms of late-18th-century Spanish society. Here he depicted ne’er-do-wells—in the form of plucked chicken-men—being cheated by prostitutes. Emphasizing the intended moral of the work’s title, Goya commented of the chickenmen: “If they have already been plucked, get them out: there will be others coming along.” He went so far as to express his anticlerical attitude—dangerous for a man living during the Spanish Inquisition—by including two friars, who stand behind the prostitutes, tolerating, if not condoning, the scene before them.

Interpretive Resources

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