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The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters

The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters (Spanish: El sueño de la razón produce monstruos) is an etching by the Spanish painter and printmaker Francisco Goya. Created between 1797 and 1799 for the Diario de Madrid,[1][2] it is the 43rd of 80 etchings making up the suite of satires Los Caprichos.[3]

The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters
Spanish: El sueño de la razón produce monstruos
Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes - The sleep of reason produces monsters (No. 43), from Los Caprichos - Google Art Project.jpg
ArtistFrancisco Goya
Yearc. 1799
TypeEtching, aquatint, drypoint and burin
Dimensions21.5 cm × 15 cm (​8 716 in × ​5 78 in)
LocationMetropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Many suggest that the artist Goya depicts himself asleep amidst his drawing tools, his reason dulled by slumber and bedeviled by creatures that prowl in the dark. The work includes owls that may be symbols of folly and bats symbolizing ignorance. Implied in Goya's preparatory inscription,[4] the artist's nightmare reflects his view of Spanish society, which he portrayed in the Caprichos as demented, corrupt, and ripe for ridicule.[5] The work is held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and was the gift of M. Knoedler & Co. in 1918.[6]

The full epigraph for capricho No. 43 reads; "Fantasy abandoned by reason produces impossible monsters: united with her (reason), she (fantasy) is the mother of the arts and the origin of their marvels."[7]

The title of C. P. Snow's The Sleep of Reason, tenth book in his "Strangers and Brothers" series,[8] and the Doctor Who novel The Sleep of Reason are drawn from this print. The second full-length album by Irish rock band Bats is titled The Sleep of Reason and features the track "The Sleep of Reason Brings Forth Monsters".[citation needed]

Occasionally the title phrase is rendered as "The dream of reason produces monsters", since the Spanish word "sueño" can mean either "sleep" or "dream".

Preparatory drawingsEdit


  1. ^ Nehamas, Alexander (2001). ""The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters"". Representations. 74 (Spring).
  2. ^ "Goya - The Sleep of Reason". Archived from the original on 2012-01-07. Retrieved 2012-01-04.
  3. ^ The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, 2013. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  4. ^ Nehamas, Alexander (2001). ""The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters"". Representations. 74 (Spring).
  5. ^ The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Francisco de Goya y Lucientes: The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters: Plate 43 of The Caprices (Los Caprichos)". Retrieved 2008-12-14.
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ Jensen, Robin M.; Vrudny, Kimberly J. (2009). Visual Theology: Forming and Transforming the Community Through the Arts. Liturgical Press. p. 39. ISBN 978-0-814-65399-9.
  8. ^ "An elegiac ending to C. P. Snow's 11‐novel cycle". Retrieved 2017-12-16.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit