“Los Caprichos” are a set of 80 etchings by Spanish artist Francisco de Goya (1747-1812). The Italian composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895-1968) selected 24 of these imprints as a source of inspiration to write for the guitar.
Goya described the etching series as depicting “the innumerable foibles and follies to be found in any civilized society, and from the common prejudices and deceitful practices which custom, ignorance or self-interest have made usual”.
In this particular piece, the cowled witch gives homage to her horned diabolic teacher, while another witch presents a child, or soul, as a token of their devotion and adherence to the latter’s teaching.
As an artist myself, I always found these gems confusing as to how so much ugliness can contrast with such a high quality of art…