Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (30 March 1746–16 April 1828). Enigmatic and controversial, Los Caprichos was created in a time of social repression and economic crisis in Spain. Influenced by Enlightenment thinking, Goya set out to analyze the human condition and denounce social abuses and superstitions. Los Caprichos was his passionate declaration that the chains of social backwardness had to be broken if humanity was to advance. The series attests to the artist's political liberalism and to his revulsion at ignorance and intellectual oppression, mirroring his ambivalence toward authority and the church.
Los Caprichos deals with such themes as the Spanish Inquisition, the corruption of the church and the nobility, witchcraft, child rearing, avarice, and the frivolity of young women. Its subhuman cast includes goblins, monks, aristocrats, procuresses, prostitutes, and animals acting like human fools; these personages populate a world on the margins of reason, where no clear boundaries distinguish reality from fantasy.