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Francisco de Goya, A Scene from 'The Forcibly Bewitched'

Key facts
Full title A Scene from El Hechizado por Fuerza ('The Forcibly Bewitched')
Artist Francisco de Goya
Artist dates 1746 - 1828
Date made 1798
Medium and support Oil on canvas
Dimensions 42.5 × 30.8 cm
Acquisition credit Bought, 1896
Inventory number NG1472
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
A Scene from 'The Forcibly Bewitched'
Francisco de Goya

Goya shows us a scene based on a satirical play first performed in 1698: The Forcibly Bewitched. The priest, Don Camillo, is being frightened into marriage with Doña Leonora. He’s been made to believe that a slave, Lucia, has bewitched him, and that his life will last only as long as the lamp in her room remains alight.

We see Camillo eagerly replenishing the oil in the lamp, which is in the form of an almost life-size ram. The inscription in the bottom right contains the first part of two words, lampara descomunal (‘monstrous lamp’) – the words that the fearful and superstitious Camillo cries out loud.

A grotesque painting of dancing donkeys decorates the wall behind, adding to the general air of mystery and sorcery. But the play is a comedy, and the hero’s exaggerated pose and staring eyes are intended to make us laugh at his gullibility.

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