Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Spanish, 17461828)
Etching printed in blue ink; working proof; Sheet: 13 x 8 1/4 in. (32.99 x 21.01 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1920 (20.22)
To die at the garrotte, by means of a screw turned through a metal collar, was considered more gentlemanly than a hanging, and was reserved for those of privileged rank ("hidalgos") who were convicted of civil crimes. Goya printed only a few impressions of an etching he must have felt compelled to make after witnessing an instance of such capital punishment or receiving a vivid account. It is the earliest copperplate to record his astonishing genius. The blue ink with which he painted this unique working proof imparts an eerie glow to the scene, which was traditionally illuminated by tapers in tall silver candlestickselegant props for a grisly drama.