Time and the Old Women Francisco de Goya Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Time and the Old Women is a masterpiece painted by Francisco de Goya in 1810. It is one of the paintings that he allocated to his son Javier. The original painting was done with oil on canvas and measures 181 cm by 125 cm.

The original creation was thought to be a pendant inscribed with a young lady reading a letter. However Goya created a satirical of the same with old women instead of the young ones. In the image, Goya depicts two old ladies reading a letter with inscriptions Quetal (interpreted as How goes it in English). The lady on the right has a white gown and long brown hair held together by an accessory at the back. Besides her is another old lady with a black dress and black hair. Also reading the letter behind their back is a figure that looks like an angel who holds a stick. The old lady with black dress holds the letter while her comrade places the left hand on her chest, probably astonishment from reading the contents of the letter.

This image was meant to show vanity of everything in life. From the clothing won by these two ladies, it I evident that they come from rich families. However, due to age, they have become ugly and weak. Therefore, they do not enjoy the good things that have come on their way. By adding an angel to the image, Goya shows that death is beckoning and will overtake them in due time. This shows that they do not enjoy the trappings of the good life they have. Some critics have claimed this image was a reference to the famous Dowager Duchess of Osuna or the Queen Maria Luisa.

Both were known for their vanity and ugliness. The Queen was not in Spain by the time Goya was painting this masterpiece, which gave much freedom to the painter. On the other hand, the lady with a white gown on the painting wears a diamond arrow, similar to what Maria Luisa used to wear. She even appeared in one in a portrait of Charles IV and his Family. Goya created the paint using Romanticism style. This style of painting was more liberal in the number of concepts, choice of colours and messages. One of the main features of the style was inclusion of emotions in the image, which gave the work more significance in terms of sending deep messages of what was going on in people's lives. This type of art was a rebellion from the accepted norms in creating pieces of art at the time.

Time and the Old Women in Detail Francisco de Goya