Loyalty; Etching with aquatint
From the series "The Proverbs" (see print no. 3), this print has two titles. "La Lealtad" is a penciled title by an unknown hand, which appears on an 1848 proof of the work. The second is the Spanish proverb listed in the Harris catalog. Unlike "Disorderly Folly", "Loyalty" has no prototypes which might give some clue to its meaning; nevertheless, a number of interpretations exist.The proverb does little to explain the print except in a general sense. Obviously the subject is a man being mocked but we are unaware of the reason. His face, swollen and distorted by emotion, could represent any number of feelings. The ambiguity of the etching is increased by the presence of a priest and a military or civil authority on horseback. There is also the figure who readies a syringe to purge the unfortunate of some unknown "ailment".Although it is unlikely that Goya included such figures with no purpose in mind, their exact role escapes us. Thus, instead of a pointedly political or religious statement we are confronted with a very pessimistic picture of society which expresses Goya's lifelong hatred of prejudice and abuse.An interpretation by Enrique Ferrari suggests that the figures on the left, including the priest, are not jeering at the man but speaking to him of the other world, good deeds and salvation, while those on the right laugh at such teachings. The man himself sits in agony of suspense and irresolution.
- Printmaking