The Dog

Towards the end of his life, Goya bought himself a villa near the river Manzanares, which the locals christened La Quinta del Sordo, or The Deaf Man´s Villa. This painting is one of his unsettling series of “Black Paintings”, which were frescoes that he painted on the inside walls of the house, between 1820 and 1822. It was a collection of very disagreeable subjects that are both Surrealist and Expressionist in style, and which look like something out of his own nightmares. The Fight with Cudgels, The Witches´ Sabbath and Saturn Devouring one of his Sons, are just some of the torments that the artist painted. To ensure their conservation, they were very skilfully transferred from the house to the Prado Museum.

This almost monochrome work, in shades of yellow and ochre, shows a rather disheartening and enigmatic sky, which is in tune with the rest of the composition. It has been said that it might be considered an Abstract painting, because of the way everyone is able to interpret the subject in their own way. Will the dog sink completely, or will it manage to get out? The animal´s expression, gazing upwards, as if it expects salvation to come from above, is beautifully painted, and it is a clear forerunner of Expressionism. Some think that the shadow on the right might reveal a satanic figure, although it is hard to tell.

(c) (R) 2013, MUSMon com S.L.
Text (a) Catalina Serrano Romero
English translation (a) Thisbe Burns