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In the late 18th century Francisco de Goya would produce large amounts of drawings in several small sketchbooks as he was running lower on materials for other mediums and decided to focus on figurative depictions in grey wash with ink.
The scene found here is typical of his work at this time, capturing charming scenes of friends and families playing together in traditional clothing. He did not put too much detail into each drawing, focusing on the shapes of the anatomy and their clothing, before quickly moving onto the next drawing. In this artwork a gentlemen looks on as two girls play-fight. These positive settings are distinctly different to some of his darker, moody paintings of other parts of his career and show a versatility in the relatively young artist at this stage.
During this period of intensive drawing he would eventually start to add more detail into each of his sketches and much of this relaxed appearance of figures in a casual setting was similar to his work on tapestry cartoons. The precise clothing found in this artwork is a type of summer dress, more suitable for hot weather and far less formal than other outfits that the Duchess and her relations would have worn on other occassions.
Sketchbooks were a particularly useful tool for artists of the past, easily referred to on a whim and also enabling an artist to produce small artworks on the move. Full scale paintings took time and effort to construct, meaning when an artist like Goya wanted to quickly practice an element of a painting, it could not be done in a matter of minutes unless his tools were already set up. Portrait artists would often see someone at random and wish to capture an element of their face or pose and sketchbooks with ink were an ideal medium for that.