Updated: Jun 25, 2020
The preparatory drawings for Spanish painter and printmaker Francisco Goya’s threatening yet intriguing etching, El sueño de la razón produce monstruos (The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters), demonstrate the artist experimenting with composition and line. This early version, which includes a stark, round moon in the upper left-hand corner, was later scraped in favour of a darker, more atmospheric composition with silhouettes of owls and bats swooping at the sleeping artist. Thought to reflect Goya’s views on contemporary Spanish society - which the artist condemned as corrupt - the sleeping figure is widely acknowledged to be a depiction of Goya himself, who, having fallen asleep amongst his drawing tools is plagued by creatures that lurk in the dark.
Preparatory sketch for El sueño de la razón produce monstruos, Francisco Goya (1797)
via Museo Del Prado