Francisco Goya

Francisco Goya
Fuendetodos 1746–1828 Bordeaux

Pesadilla (Nightmare)

Black Border Album (E), page 20
Inscribed at bottom, Pesadilla; numbered at top, 20; numbered 41.

ca. 1816–20
Black ink and wash
10 3/8 x 6 3/4 inches (264 x 171 mm)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Richard J. Bernhard, 1959

Item description: 

Dreams and nightmares are a leitmotif of Goya's art. Toward the end of his life, he drew increasingly for his own pleasure, executing eight albums lettered A through H and variously named. Album E, the Black Border Album, is the largest in format and the most easily recognizable. This drawing depicts a disheveled woman astride a flying bull. Still entangled in her bedding, she screams in terror, her eyes bulging. While the image of a woman and bull traditionally personified the European continent, Goya's pair seems to personify the turmoil in Spain following the Peninsular War.

About this exhibition: 

From the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries, Spain witnessed the rise of the Catholic Church along with the flourishing of court artists who explored deeply spiritual visions. Concurrently, the nightmare of the Inquisition drove artists to probe the darker side of human nature through scenes of martyrdom and torture. Drawing played a central role in their conception of these diverse subjects—from Murillo's preparatory studies for painting commissions to Goya's private albums satirizing contemporary society. In addition to this rich tradition in Spain, Spanish artists also worked abroad, notably in Naples, which was a Spanish territory.

Visions and Nightmares marks the first exhibition of Spanish drawings at the Morgan, whose holdings in this area are small but significant. Showcasing over twenty sheets by Spanish artists spanning four centuries, this selection traces the shifting roles and attitudes toward the art of drawing in Spain.


This online exhibition was created in conjunction with the exhibition Visions and Nightmares: Four Centuries of Spanish Drawings, on view January 17 through May 11, 2014 and organized by Edward Payne, Moore Curatorial Fellow.

This exhibition is made possible by the A. Woodner Fund.