The main element of this piece is the net on a tree. The net frames and unifies all the other parts. The other components of the painting include the crouching dog and the cages holding the birds. The role of the birds in this painting is to act as decoys. The birds, dog, and bush in the painting's foreground depict de Goya's interest in flora ad fauna. He paints these objects with such precision and passion. The mitte owl painted in this piece is quite similar to the nocturnal bird, also an owl that Francisco de Goya used as a personification of evil forces in other of his drawings and etchings. However, in this painting, the owl appears more like a stuffed animal as opposed to a study of nature.
Decoy Hunting is an oil painting drawn on Canva. The canvas on which it sits measures 112 cm by 179 cm. As in all of the cartoons in his first series, Francisco stuck to the requirements of the weavers. This means that he used delimited outlines coupled with stronger colour contrasts. This made transferring the design to tapestry effortless.
Decoy Hunting was part of the first commissions that Goya received for the Royal Tapestry Factory of Santa Barbara. This happened between 1774 and 1775, and it was part of a series of 14 tapestries. Of the 14, Francisco de Goya rendered nine of them. Each of the nine pieces by de Goya depicted hunting subjects. He also displayed a keen passion for hunting nobilities. Decoy hunting cartoon was one of the tapestries meant to hang above the door in the Prince and Princess of Asturias at El Escorial's dining room. De Goya completed and submitted this painting together with other pieces for his commission between May and October 1775.
The painting sat above the door in the Prince and Princess of Asturias at El Escorial's dining room until for several years. It was later moved to the Royal Tapestry Factory in Santa Barbara. In 1856, it was moved again to the Royal Palance in Madrid. In 2870, it became part of the Prado Museum's collection until 1983 when it was returned to Prado. Goya is fond of using darl shades, subtle tones and intricate scene packed with intense emotion in most of his pieces. This is especially the case for his later works.