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She Is Bashful About Undressing, 1796-1797

Francisco de Goya y Lucientes

Spanish, 1746-1828
Brushed India ink on paper
image: 7-5/8 x 5 in. (19.5 x 12.7 cm); sheet: 9-1/8 x 5-5/8 in. (23.2 x 14.2 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation
M.1974.04.2a.D
© 2012 Norton Simon Art Foundation

Not on view

This sheet was page 79 of an album of Goya drawings commonly referred to as Madrid Album B. At one point before the book was disassembled presumably by Javier Goya, the artist’s grandson, it consisted of as many as 94 drawings dating from around 1794 to 1797. Both this page and the drawing on its verso were likely composed during Goya’s convalescence from a relapse of a more serious attack that occurred in 1792, one that left him temporarily paralyzed and permanently deaf. The album itself reflects Goya’s sentiments about love, erotic pleasures and everyday city life, all of which he may have witnessed during his recuperative tour of cities in southern Spain.

The caption written on this particular drawing states “Tiene cortedad de desnudarse, bayá estese V. quieto” (She is bashful about undressing. Go on, keep still, will you). It is a playful, lighthearted commentary on flirtation, street walkers and sensual pleasures. The rakish gallant leans gently towards the young girl, perhaps whispering encouragement or entreaties. Goya tells us she is bashful, but her coy response might also be interpreted as timid, hesitant, or simply begrudging.


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