Bien Tirada Esta (It is nicely stretched)

Goya – Bien Tirada Esta

Francisco Goya (1746-1828), Bien Tirada Esta (It is nicely stretched), etching, burnished aquatint and burin, 1799. Reference: Harris 52, Delteil 54; plate 17 from Los Caprichos, The First Edition (of 12). In very good condition, with margins; 8 1/2 x 6 1/8, the sheet 12 1/2 x 7 3/8 inches.

A fine impression, printed in sepia on soft but strong laid paper, as specified by Harris for the First Edition impressions. Printed in two shades of aquatint, which vary only slightly (in the later impressions the aquatint shades contrast more as the paler aquatint wears faster).  The burin work at the bottom of the old lady’s skirt is visible but not overly pronounced (as is the case in the later impressions). The aquatint contrasts brilliantly with the highlights of the figures, as it should.

After the impressions of the First Edition (about 300) the Caprichos was printed posthumously in 11 additional editions, none of which are comparable in quality to the lifetime impressions.

Goya’s commentary on this print: “Oh! The bawdy old woman is no fool! She knows quite well what is wanted, and that the stockings must fit tightly.” Pierre Gassier’s French translation of this commentary (taken from the Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid translation of Goya’s commentary) played on the French word “bas” meaning stocking or low), i.e., “A prostitute pulls on her stocking (bas) to make her legs more attractive, but there’s really no place lower (plus bas)  that she can fall.”  Whatever the wording, the general meaning is fairly clear, as is the visual contrast between the two women.