7 Creepy Works from Francisco Goya’s ‘Los Caprichos’

A visitor to Park West Museum examines the art of Francisco Goya

With Halloween creeping up, dare to enter Park West Museum and view some legitimately creepy artwork by Francisco Goya, one of the most important Spanish artists of the 18th and 19th centuries.

The unsettling works in question belong to Goya’s “Los Caprichos” series, which he began sketching shortly after becoming ill in 1792. The illness sparked a wave of creativity that led to the darker style seen in “Caprichos.”

The result was 80 plates completed between 1797 and 1799—graphic works that critique both Spain’s culture and humanity in general. Throughout the series, Goya makes trenchant political commentary and references to witchcraft accompanied by bizarre and disturbing imagery—perfect for Halloween.

You can visit Park West Museum to see examples of “Los Caprichos” in person, or you read our below list of seven of the most eerie images from Goya’s notorious graphic series.

As an added bonus, we’ve included Goya’s commentary on the symbolism and significance of each image—taken from his “Prado manuscript.”


Aguarda que te Unten
(Wait till you’ve been Anointed)

"Wait till you've been Anointed" (c. 1799), Francisco Goya

“Wait till you’ve been Anointed” (c. 1799), Francisco Goya

This image shows a goblin and an old hag, looking as if they are about to sacrifice a goat. While the two figures are creepy enough, perhaps the true horror is that the goat’s leg held by the goblin ends in a human foot.

From the Prado manuscript: “He has been sent out on an important errand and wants to go off half-annointed. Even among the witches, some are hare-brained, impetuous, madcap, without a scrap of judgement. It’s the same the world over.”


A Caza de Dientes
(Out Hunting for Teeth)
c. 1799

"Out Hunting for Teeth" (c. 1799), Francisco Goya

“Out Hunting for Teeth” (c. 1799), Francisco Goya

Witches need to collect their spell and potion ingredients from somewhere, right? Apparently, that sometimes involves prying teeth from a dead man, which as this image shows, is a grotesque errand.

From the Prado manuscript: “The teeth of a hanged man are very efficacious for sorceries; without this ingredient there is not much you can do. What a pity the common people should believe such nonsense.”



"Trials" (c. 1799), Francisco Goya

“Trials” (c. 1799), Francisco Goya

What is possibly a witch is shown torturing a man while a demonic goat watches. Though open to interpretation, the manuscript hints at this witch learning sorcery, showing just how far people will go to earn money or power.

From the Prado manuscript: “Little by little she is making progress. She is already making her first steps and in time she will know as much as her teacher.”


Buen Viage
(Bon Voyage)

"Bon Voyage" (c. 1799), Francisco Goya

“Bon Voyage” (c. 1799), Francisco Goya

A terrifying winged creature with numerous wailing heads on its back. As the manuscript suggests, there is little doubt people would be frightened if they saw this monster.

From the Prado manuscript: “Where is this infernal company going, filling the air with noise in the darkness of night? If it were daytime it would be quite a different matter and gun shots would bring the whole group of them to the ground; but as it is night, no one can see them.”


El Sueno de la Razon Produce Monstruos
(The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters)
c. 1799

The sleep of reason produces monsters Francisco Goya Park West Gallery

“El sueno de la Razon produce Monstruos” (The sleep of reason produces monsters) (c. 1799), Francisco Goya

Perhaps the most iconic work from “Los Caprichos,” the sleeper is actually Goya himself. Large owls and bats flutter around the artist while a huge witch’s cat watches on. Goya’s reason is dulled by sleep and “bedeviled by creatures that prowl in the dark,” according to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

From the Prado manuscript: “Imagination abandoned by reason produces impossible monsters: united with her, she is the mother of the arts and the source of their wonders.”


Donde va mama?
(Where is mother going?)
c. 1799

"Where is mother going?" (c. 1799), Francisco Goya

“Where is mother going?” (c. 1799), Francisco Goya

A witch carried and escorted by odd, goblin-like denizens. The creep factor is somewhat muted by the absurdity of the image, especially the cat desperately clinging to the parasol, but still, is this a mother you want to run into?

From the Prado manuscript: “Mother has dropsy and they have sent her on an outing. God willing, she may recover.”


Ya es Hora
(It is Time)
c. 1799

"It is Time" (c. 1799), Francisco Goya

“It is Time” (c. 1799), Francisco Goya

The final installation of Goya’s series is perhaps the most shocking, like the last startling image of a nightmare before waking. Goya blurs reality with fantasy, depicting men in clergy garments with gruesome faces.

From the Prado manuscript: “Then when dawn threatens, each one goes on his way, Witches, Hobgoblins, apparitions and phantoms. It is a good thing that these creatures do not allow themselves to be seen except at night and when it is dark! Nobody has been able to find out where they shut themselves up and hide during the day. If anyone could catch a denful of Hobgoblins and were to show it in a cage at 10 o’clock in the morning in the Puerto del Sol, he would need no other inheritance.”

Interested in learning more or collecting works from by Francisco Goya? Contact our gallery consultants at (800) 521-9654, ext. 4 during business hours or sales@parkwestgallery.com.

One Response to 7 Creepy Works from Francisco Goya’s ‘Los Caprichos’

  1. James Newton says:

    On a recent cruise we noticed a Goya etching “wait until you have been anointed”c 1799. Could you please advise when the etching was printed? Was it 1799 or a later edition, as many were printed in 1886 or later.

Leave a comment

Prove you\'re human. *

Latest News

  • Why We Love Buying Art on Cruise Ships: Confessions of an Art Enthusiast...

    After entering their first cruise ship art auction, this couple has never looked back.Don and Tina Tritton almost missed the boat. While their ship was docked in Ketchikan during a ...
    Read More
  • The Story Behind Anatoly Metlan’s Flamenco Dancers

    Grace, poise, energy—these are the qualities one finds in skilled dancers around the world, and are almost impossible to capture in a work of art.Almost.While historically known for his beautiful ...
    Read More
  • Collect Unique Romero Britto Artwork During Our Limited-Time Sale

    Chances are you’ve seen Romero Britto’s instantly recognizable style during your travels, but odds are you’ve never seen this many unique Britto paintings in one place.Park West Gallery just ...
    Read More
  • Enjoy Art Auctions Aboard the World’s Largest Cruise Ship: Symphony of the Seas

    If you’re a fan of Royal Caribbean art auctions, something big is on the horizon.This April marks the maiden voyage of Royal Caribbean International’s newest ship, Symphony of the ...
    Read More
  • Daniel Wall Follows His Heart in His New Spring Collection

    Spring is that special time when flowers bloom and love is in the air, and artist Daniel Wall is one of the rare artists who can uniquely capture the ...
    Read More
  • Dominic Pangborn to Showcase Art at 2018 Winter Paralympics

    Not long after enjoying the Olympics in his native country of South Korea, artist Dominic Pangborn received an unexpected phone call from 2018 Paralympics officials.“They had talked about doing ...
    Read More
  • Auctioneer Spotlight: Lucy Orbell

    Many Park West collectors develop lasting friendships with our art teams, underscoring our 49-year reputation of connecting people from all walks of life with artwork they love.Here’s a chance to ...
    Read More
  • Music Legend Gary Puckett Transforms Park West VIP Events Into Concerts to Remember

    When you attend a Park West auction, you never know who you’re going to meet. You might meet fellow art lovers, your favorite artist, or—if you’re lucky—you might meet a ...
    Read More
  • The Surrealistic Art of Peter Max: How His Style Made Him an Art...

    Peter Max is ...
    Read More
  • Park West and Scott Jacobs Help Raise Funds for Young Musicians

    When Park West Gallery teams up with its artists for a good cause, they make great music together.Park West Gallery helped raise $7,000 for the Amelia Island Jazz Festival’s music ...
    Read More
  • 5 Facts You May Not Know About Yaacov Agam

    Israeli artist Yaacov Agam is a groundbreaking pioneer of the kinetic art movement. As such, art lovers around the world are familiar with his transformative artwork and art installations ...
    Read More
  • Behind the Artist: Pierre-Auguste Renoir

    More than 150 years ago, Pierre-Auguste Renoir persevered financial hardship and ridicule from critics to become one of the most famous artists in history and a central figure in ...
    Read More