Francisco de Goya, The Reading (La lectura, o Los políticos)

Museo del Prado, Madrid

Date: 1820 - 1823
Technique: Mixed technique on wall, 126 x 66 cm

During the three years of liberal government (El Trienio Liberal, 1820-1823) the edition of newspapers, pamphlets, and all types of publications, especially of a satirical and political nature, reached a peak thanks to freedom of the Press. People read alone or in groups, such as the one Goya has depicted here: a group of men have gathered to listen to one of them read some sort of broadsheet. From the painting alone we cannot tell what sort of publication is being read, anymore than we can make out exactly where the reading is taking place - such readings tended to take place in cafés, in the street, or in private houses. Once more, Goya has left us in the dark with regard to this part of his subject matter. (Valeriano Bozal, Goya-Black Paintings)


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