'Los Proverbios' de Francisco Goya

Los Proverbios,  a series of etchings by the Spanish artist Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (1764-1824), is the subject of an exhibition at the Norton Simon Museum.

Goya is renowned today as both a painter and engraver, though in his own lifetime he found fame as a painter of portraits and historical subjects for the Spanish court. The technique of engraving was not widely used by his comtemporaries, and Goya was the first Spanish artist to exploit the medium so throughly and with such understanding.

Goya's engraved works were a deeply personal expression of the political and social turmoils occurring in his native land, though they were generally lesser known during the period because of his lack of financial success in printing his etchings for public consumption.

The Proverbios  had been stored by Goya's son Javier when the artist left Spain for France in 1824, and were only printed after his death. Of the twenty-two existing prints which comprise this series, eighteen were published posthumously as a series in 1864, and an additional four were later discovered. Depicting various Spanish proverbs, the Proverbios  capture the brilliant, complex, and often ambiguous character of Goya's work. The plates, with few exceptions, lack his evocative titles, and remain the least understood of his engraved works.