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Francisco de Goya, Two Old People Eating (Dos viejos comiendo)


Museo del Prado, Madrid

Date: 1821 - 1823
Technique: Mixed technique on wall, 49,3 cm x 83,4 cm

Only one of the old people, the one holding a spoon, seems to be eating and the figure seems more like that of an elderly woman than a man. The figure gesturing alongside looks like an eyeless corpse, as if it were the image of Death itself...
These figures are part of the repertory of witches and old hags that Goya depicted in his drawings, his prints, and his paintings. They are similar to those we find in other works of the series of Black Paintings. They are not so much a representation of the world as an allegory of it. The world they people is a world of darkness and expressive dramatic effects, and this may be understood as emblematic of the whole series of images that Goya painted in this room...
In spite of its small size - it is the smallest of all the Black Paintings - Two People Eating makes a lasting impression on us: the cadaverous faces are not devoid of ironic gesture, or a sarcastic grimace, and in this way the artist ''humanizes'' what would otherwise have been only simple death masks. (Valeriano Bozal, Goya-Black Paintings)

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