About This Artwork

Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes
Spanish, 1746-1828

When Day Breaks We Will Be Off, plate 71 from Los Caprichos, 1797/99

Etching and aquatint on ivory laid paper
173 x 127 mm (image); 198 x 149 mm (plate); 301 x 205 mm (sheet)

Clarence Buckingham Collection, 1948.110.71

Once again Goya features a malicious group of haggard women, usually interpreted as witches. They rest before daybreak to take flight, with or without broomsticks. Despite their caricatured expressions, their interactions can still be universally understood. The most prominent witch signals which direction they will head once the sun rises. She will presumably drag the group of children tied to her waist with her for evil purposes. Not unlike Goya’s earlier Caprichos plates, the figures of the witches rely heavily on using line, while the velvety night sky and bright stars are created using aquatint.

Interpretive Resources

View mobile website