Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cats in Art: The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters

My continuing Sunday series.

Image and text credit here: 1797-98, Francisco Goya, The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters, etching with aquatint

Goya's observation of the world led him to believe that the eighteenth century philosophers' dream of Reason only produced monsters. His etching, entitled The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters, shows a student asleep over his books while the air around him is filled with screech owls and bats.

This etching has been given various interpretations, but it is generally thought that the work represents the "triumph of nightmare." Does the cat represent Goya's belief that Reason, with its inherent power to end the nightmare, sits back and does nothing?

My vote is that the cat simply does not care.

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