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Goya’s black paintings: Asmodea

Artist Francisco Goya
Title Asmodea
Year 1819-1823
Technique Mural (later converted to canvas)
Current location Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain
Francisco Goya - Black Paintings - Asmodea

Asmodea is also known as Asmodeus, Sabbath, or Fantastic vision. It is a strange painting of two people flying through the air. It is unclear who they are, or why they are flying. They have been identified as witches on their way to a witches’ sabbath, but they don’t look at all like the witches of The witches’ sabbath. The title Asmodea was first used by Antonio Brugada, who has known Goya and may well have heard the title from Goya. Asmodea is probably the female form of Asmodeus, an evil spirit mentioned in the apocryphical bible book Tobit (ch. 3), but I don’t see what Asmodeus and the people in this painting have in common.

The soldiers on the foreground are probably aiming at the people in the distance, ignoring the flying figures. The flying figures are obviously ignoring the soldiers – one of them is pointing in the distance, to something we can’t see, the other is looking back. The flying figures and the soldiers seem to be in different worlds, unable to see each other.

Asmodea is on display in the Museo del Prado in Madrid.



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2 responses to “Goya’s black paintings: Asmodea”

  1. Deborah Matheson Avatar
    Deborah Matheson

    I found this painting in a old frame with a label ont the back. Goya Al Aquelarre Asmode. Madrid Museo Del Prada. Could it be valuable.?

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