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Boy on a Ram

Francisco Goya1786/87

The Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago

As a painter to the king of Spain, Francisco de Goya produced designs for tapestries for the royal residences, to be woven at the king’s tapestry works. The artist made small oil sketches to work out the designs, followed by full-scale painted cartoons that served as guides for the weavers. This cartoon is for a tapestry in a series decorating the dining room of the Prince of Asturias, in the Palace of El Pardo, outside Madrid. The room’s large panels illustrate a traditional decorative subject, the Four Seasons, but Goya exercised his imagination in the smaller panels above the doors, producing scenes of children and animals like this one. Goya’s remarkably fresh, original tapestry cartoons are mostly preserved in the Museo del Prado, Madrid.

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