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The witches’ sabbath or the great he-goat

The witches’ sabbath or the great he-goat

Artist Francisco Goya
Title The witches’ sabbath or the great he-goat
Year 1819-1823
Technique Mural (later converted to canvas)
Current location Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain
Francisco Goya - Black paintings - The witches sabbath or the great he-goat

The witches’ sabbath or the great he-goat

The room downstairs was dominated by two huge paintings (about 4.30 metres wide and 1.40 metres high): Pilgrimage to St. Isidore’s hermitage and The witches’ sabbath or the great he-goat.

The witches’ sabbath or the great he-goat is also known as The great he-goat, Sabbath, or The witches gathering.

A gathering of witches with deformed faces, on the right a young woman probably about to be initiated in the witches’ rites (or is she a victim?), on the left a goat in a monk’s cloak personifying the devil. The atmosphere is gloomy, the participants (except maybe the young woman) are frightening.

Francisco Goya - The witches sabbath

The witches sabbath

Note the contrast between this painting and Goya’s earlier rendering of the same subject, The witches’ sabbath painted around 1798.

The witches’ sabbath or the great he-goat is on display in the Museo del Prado in Madrid.

1 Comment

  1. I have just read a description of a Goya work in the novel What I Loved, and I wonder if it actually exists or was made up by the author. The description reads:
    “a young, naked woman riding a goat on witches’ Sabbath, I felt sure that she was all speed and hunger, that her craized ride, born of Goya’s sure, swift hand, was ink bruising paper. Her hair streams out behind her and her legs may not cling much longer to the animal’s body.”
    Could please tell me if this painting exists, what it is titled, and how I can see the image for myself.
    Thank you,
    Heather tigernut06@gmail.com

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Goya’s black paintings: Asmodea | Henk van Kampen photography - [...] on their way to a witches’ sabbath, but they don’t look at all like the witches of The witches’ …
  2. Goya’s black paintings: Pilgrimage to St. Isidore’s well | Henk van Kampen photography - [...] probably an inquisitor, surrounded by people that remind us of the witches and devil-worshippers of The witches’ sabbath. They …
  3. Goya’s black paintings: Pilgrimage to St. Isidore’s hermitage | Henk van Kampen photography - [...] room downstairs was dominated by two huge paintings (about 4.30 metres wide and 1.40 metres high): The witches’ sabbath …

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