Skip to main content

The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters (El sueño de la razon produce monstruos)

1797-1798, published 1799
Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (Spanish, 1746–1828)

Often viewed as a self-portrait, this print conveys the struggle between reason and imagination that shaped Goya’s artistic vision. His contemporaries would have recognized the watchful lynx and ominous bats and owls that swarm around the sleeping artist as symbols of ignorance and evil.

Goya originally considered using this print as the introductory plate for Los Caprichos, but settled on the more traditional self-portrait. Ultimately published in the middle of the album, this print epitomizes the prevailing message of the series, a warning of what happens in the world when reason is absent.

Object Details

We are always open to learning more about our collections and updating the website. Does this record contain inaccurate information or language that you feel we should improve or change? Contact us here.

Please note that this particular artwork might not be on view when you visit. Don’t worry—we have plenty of exhibitions for you to explore.