The sleep of reason produces monsters (No. 43), from Los Caprichos

Francisco Goya1799

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Kansas City, Missouri, United States

Francisco Goya's first major print series, the Caprichos (Caprices), satirizes corrupt practices of the Spanish church and state, indicting superstition, vanity and ignorance. Through this printed imagery, Goya sought to dispel what he saw to be the forces of darkness by exposing them to the light of reason. Here, Goya depicts himself asleep, besieged by owls, bats, a black cat and lynx, all creatures of the night and embodiments of evil. A manuscript for a commentary on the meaning of the Caprichos etchings, written in Goya's handwriting or that of his scribe, addresses this image: "Imagination abandoned by reason produces impossible monsters; united with her, she is the mother of the arts and the source of their wonders."


  • Title: The sleep of reason produces monsters (No. 43), from Los Caprichos
  • Creator: Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes
  • Date Created: 1799
  • Physical Dimensions: w149.1 x h188.98 in (Plate)
  • Type: Prints
  • Rights: Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust, Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust
  • Medium: Etching with aquatint and other intaglio media, 1st. ed.
  • Culture: Spanish

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