Holloway, Vance
April 2012
Dieciocho: Hispanic Enlightenment;Spring2012, Vol. 35 Issue 1, p21
Academic Journal
Goya scholarship has been divided on whether the Capricho etchings comprise an affirmation of Enlightenment values or they represent a transition towards a more ominous view of humanity that emphasizes the predominance of its irrational, depraved nature. The witchcraft imagery in the engravings is a key element for both sides of this argument. This essay analyzes elements of superstition and witchcraft in the Caprichos in relation to how the engravings represent and critique the Catholic Church. It uses the social and psychological implications of abjection to propose that Goya's prints present a consistent, reiterated portrayal of superstition and witchcraft as beliefs and practices stemming from the Church itself. The etchings dealing with superstition, along with others satirizing clerical vices, suggest that the Caprichos constitute a unified artistic work critiquing societal and institutional shortcomings in order to promote enlightened reform.


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