An urbane Spaniard--probably a self-portrait of the artist--makes an obscene gesture at the Napoleon-like dwarfs threatening him with daggers. The title inscribed below the image, Despreciar los ynsultos (Despise the insults), seems to signify Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes's defiance toward the French military occupation of Spain. The difference of scale between the tall, patronizing Spaniard and his squat, gloomy oppressors reinforces the point.
Often politically motivated, Goya's art presented private exploits and tragedies with both satire and an awareness of the human condition that made his observations timeless and universal. He began to use the more intimate mediums of drawings and prints for his purposeful and serious satires after 1792. Goya made this sketch, sixteenth of about fifty drawings in the "Black Border" album, for his own amusement and interest rather than for sale or other purposes.