Contemptuous of the Insults

Object Details


Contemptuous of the Insults




about 1816–1820


Brush and india ink

Object Number:



29.5 × 18.3 cm (11 5/8 × 7 3/16 in.)

Credit Line:

The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles

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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.

Exhibition of Old Master Drawings (June 25 to July 12, 1974)
  • P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., Ltd., London, June 25 to July 12, 1974
Goya Zeichnungen und Druckgraphik (February 13 to April 5, 1981) (catalogue by M. Stuffmann)
  • Städtische Galerie im Städelsches Kunstinstitut (Frankfurt), February 13 to April 5, 1981
Drawings from the J. Paul Getty Museum (May 24 to August 8, 1993)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), May 24 to August 8, 1993
Drawings from the J. Paul Getty Museum (October 29, 1993 to January 23, 1994)
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), October 29, 1993 to January 23, 1994
Juanes to Goya: Spanish Drawings 1560 -1825 (September 14 to November 28, 1999)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), September 14 to November 28, 1999
Goya: drawings from his private albums (February 22 to May 13, 2001) (catalogue by J. Wilson-Bareau)
  • The Hayward Gallery (London), February 22 to May 13, 2001
Window onto Spain: Drawings and Prints from Ribera to Goya (February 17 to May 16, 2004)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), February 17 to May 16, 2004
A Revolutionary Age: Drawing in Europe, 1770-1820 (January 18 to May 1, 2005)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), January 18 to May 1, 2005
A Light Touch: Exploring Humor in Drawing (September 23 to December 7, 2008)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), September 23 to December 7, 2008