Francisco de Goya y Lucientes

Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, Si es Delinquente que muera Presto, etching

Si es Delinquente Que Muera Presto

[If He Is Guilty, Let Him Die Quickly]

Delteil 33.2 (with a different title, Le Prisonnier Torturé, de Profil), Harris 28.2 (of 3)

etching, circa 1810-20, on medium-thick ivory wove paper, with good (though uneven) margins, the second state (of three, according to Harris),  an exceedingly rare and exceptional trial proof impression (Harris cites one other impression of this state, pulled before the 1859 edition, see below), printed slightly askew; traces of old hinges and annotations on the verso*, otherwise in very good condition

P. 118x86 mm.  S.  225x163 mm.

This is one of a series of three small etchings of prisoners showing their barbarous mistreatment that Goya produced in the mid-1810s, probably around the same time as the powerful set of eighty plates relating the Peninsular War and denouncing its atrocities, Los Desastres de la Guerra.  Likewise, they were not printed in editions until well after Goya's death.

The title given by Harris derives from an annotated impression of the 1st state included in the Ceán Bermúdez Album.

According to Valentín Carderera (who wrote the first biography of the artist and was one of his earliest collectors), this plate was purchased by John Savile Lumley in 1859 (see Tomás Harris, Vol. I, page 87), along with several others; Lumley also printed them on the same laid paper and at the same time as the Calcografía edition in 1859.  It thus seems clear that the trial proofs of the prisoners, which Harris describes as "Posthumous before 1859" were printed before Lumley's acquisition.  A more exact dating of these trial proofs is as yet impossible.

The only other known impression of the present trial proof, again according to Harris, is held in the Rosenwald collection,  now in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (

Comparing these two impressions (along with known edition impressions**), our trial proof impression shows differences in printing technique,
printing more crisply, and appearing more cleanly wiped (showing finer detail in the dark areas, notably the the head, chest, far thigh, and doorway). Note also the sharp clamp marks (upper left plate edge) that no longer show in the edition.

There is also a preparatory drawing for this print in the Museo del Prado (see Pierre Gassier, Les Dessins de Goya, Tome II, page 204, Paris, 1975

* In pencil, a partly effaced French annotation in a 19th century hand, "M Carderera en a le dessin à la sépia" over which a later hand has written "GOYA".

** For comparable online photographs of impressions from the 1859 Calcografía edition (all on heavy laid paper, with the Guarro watermark), see:

Museo del Prado


Bibliothèque Nationale de France

British Museum
(impression donated by Lumley)

N.B. This particular etching is quite rare, even as concerns impressions from the 1859 edition; we have only seen three impressions on auction in the past thirty years:
    -  Galerie Kornfeld, Bern 18 June 2011 and 22 June 1989
    -  Sotheby's, London 4 December 2003