Francisco de Goya
Two Children Looking at a Book
Francisco de Goya, Spanish, Two Children Looking at a Book, 1824-1825, Carbon black and watercolor on ivory; 5.2 x 5.2 cm (2 1/16 x 2 1/16 inches), Gift of Mrs. Gustav Radeke 21.129
During the last years of his life, Goya painted a group of small subjects on ivory. His innovative technique, which subverted the expectations of traditional portrait miniatures, involved blackening the ivory and then dropping water on the surface to loosen and stain the ground. He proceeded to manipulate the medium with his brush, sometimes adding watercolor or incising the ground with a sharp instrument. Moving from shadow to light, he revealed biblical and genre scenes, animating them with dramatically expressive faces. In the RISD image, Goya depicted two children looking at a book.