A drawing of an old woman dressed in a long, full dress, playing the guitar. She is levitated above another woman who sits on the floor, with a bowl in front of her. The inscription 'cantor y bailer' is seen beneath the drawings.
Francisco de Goya (1746-1828), Cantar y bailar (singing and dancing), 1819-1820, The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust) © The Courtauld

Cantar y bailar (Singing and Dancing)

Francisco de Goya

Drawing allowed Goya’s extraordinary imagination free rein in numerous sheets that he assembled in albums later in his life, after an illness struck him in 1792-93. This puzzling work once belonged to the commonly known ‘Witches and old Women’ album. In this sheet, a woman levitates while playing a guitar, singing and dancing as the inscription below suggests.   

Executed in the last decade of the artist’s life, in this private album the artist explored themes of witchcraft, nightmares and the grotesque, revelatory also of his interest in old age, as he was himself approaching his eightieth year. These evocative compositions, full of original inventions, range from the fantastic to the diabolical, seldom providing a key to unlock Goya’s intended meaning. 

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Two men sit across from each other at a table covered with a brown tablecloth, playing cards. Both men wear overcoats and hats, and the man on the left smokes a pipe. They sit inside a wooden building. i Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) The Card Players, around 1892-96, The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust)

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