Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (Francisco de Goya) (Spanish, 1746–1828) In this drawing, bold line work, various gradations of wash, and striking use of the reserve compellingly render eagle hunting as a brutal and slightly comic task. The hunter precariously dangles from a precipice by a thin rope taut around his waist. Only a metal cooking pot on his head and padded trousers protect him from the sharp beaks of the eaglets and the rugged cliff. Hovering in midair while attempting to pluck the young birds from a nest tucked into a crevice, the eagle hunter remains completely unaware of his impending doom. With sharp talons outstretched, a large adult eagle is about to return to the nest with a hapless rabbit in its beak. The open wicker basket that insecurely hangs from the hunter’s waist and holds an eaglet further points to the futility of this act. The scene could very well be an illustration of the proverb: He who would take will himself be taken. Goya drew the proposed composition with common writing ink on inexpensive Spanish paper—materials that the artist was forced to use during the Napoleonic invasion of Spain. Like his subject matter, the drawing medium and support themselves bear the imprint of desperation. Originally part of Goya’s Images of Spain Album (Album F) (see below), this sheet is a highly personal rumination that is not related to further work in any direct sense.
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Artwork in this collection is from The J. Paul Getty Museum. Reproduction rights are reserved by the copyright owner and used under license by Archivea GmbH. .