About This Artwork

Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes
Spanish, 1746-1828

They Have Flown, plate 61 from Los Caprichos (Caprices), 1797–98, published 1799

Etching, aquatint, and drypoint in brown on ivory laid paper
186 x 129 mm (image); 215 x 150 mm (plate); 301 x 207 mm (sheet)

Clarence Buckingham Collection, 1948.110.61

One of Goya’s best-known publications, Los Caprichos (Caprices) is an album of 80 whimsical prints featuring biting critiques of society’s foolishness. The absurd scenario seen here suggests women’s flightiness. With a butterfly in her hair, this airheaded woman is too lightweight for any serious relationship or responsibility. Her face resembles the Duchess of Alba, María Cayetana de Silva, who was the subject of several of Goya’s paintings. While the extent of their personal relationship remains uncertain, this image suggests unrequited love.

Interpretive Resources

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