Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Fuendetodos, 1746 – Bordeus, 1826) besides being the most important painter of his time he also was an excellent engraver comparable to Rembrandt. Los Caprichos isn’t the first intaglio series realized by the painter. However, it's the first series thought as an ensemble, closed and complete. Between 1778 and 1779 he had already made some attempts in this discipline with a series of engravings inspired by Velazquez's works. After his second travel to Andalucía in 1797, he returned with the idea of realizing a new engraving series. The character of them was already beginning to manifest in his sketchbooks (Álbum A of Sanlúcar, 1796-97 and Album B of Madrid, started in Andalucía) with critical and bitter annotations which appears specially in the second album, realized after breaking his relationship with the Duchess of Alba. His deafness process had become worse lately and the artist was getting lonelier ans isolated from the world. Most of this irony and biting irony draws have been an inspiration for Los Caprichos, that came out in 1799. In 1803, Goya offered the original plates to the king Carlos IV, who deposited them to the Real Calcografia. Now they are conserved a little bit worn by the use in the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid.
Goya portrays in this series the collapse of the human being. Reflects a social and political world in crisis, stagnant, based in a petrified stratification by tiers and anchored in the imobilism. Goya was a radically illustrated like Jovellanos and Moratin and his liberal thoughts, whipping all that remites the obscurantism, connected with decadent absolutism. But his criticism exceed the moment’s anecdote to become a disqualification from all universal fanaticism in time and space. Hince the timeliness of its sharpness.
The Abbey of Montserrat preserve in total 42 stamps of the 80 that conforms the complete series. They came here in 1964, donated by an antique bookseller of París, Just Cabot. All of them belongs to a late edition, probably the 1868's one, realized with original plates, although quite spent.
The Caprichos immediately keep the public attention that, instantly requested explanations. From Goya and his intimate circle came out some manuscripts commenting the stamps. The principal manuscripts are of the Museo del Prado, Biblioteca Nacional de Madrid and also the manuscript that was a propriety of Lopez de Ayala. The manuscript of the Prado it’s more moderated in his opinions than the rest.
The numbering corresponds to the order of the series of Montserrat and the numbering in parentheses is the proper from the first edition of 1821. We have respected the original spanish spelling of the stamp and the comments.