Political implications
of the criticisms of the life
and habits of the clergy

Goya fired his most poisonous darts at the friars, whom he pictured as vice-ridden goblins

They are warm (Caprichos)
The spirit of the age went against the sinecures and comfortable, unproductive life of the friars and nuns, who were often compared to drones in the social hive. However, priests and bishops of the diocese who dedicated their time to good works were respected. Goya fired his most poisonous darts at the friars, whom he pictured as vice-ridden goblins.

There were other reasons for the criticisms of the clergy. Well-off members of the bourgeoisie and some members of the aristocracy looked with hungry eyes at the enormous properties owned by the Church and made efforts to transfer ownership to the state and ultimately to themselves. The state was interested in the financial possibilities of having new tax-paying landowners (the Church was exempt from taxation on the land that it owned) who would thus fill the coffers of an impoverished Hacienda Publica Undoubtedly, the uncontrolled growth of the Second Estate at the end of the end of the 18th century meant an added burden for the rest of society to carry.

Those advocating a change of land ownership found moral and religious justification for their actions from the open hypocrisy of a significantly large part of the Church establishment, which was riddled with un-Christian vices such as greed, vanity, avarice and lust, in stark contrast to the misery which the so-called beloved of Christ, the poor, had to endure.

The aristocracy and the bourgeoisie also sought allies amongst the farm workers. Goya, like other members of the bourgeoisie of the time, participated in this belief, and so print C. 120 should be understood in this light. One sees a farm worker hoeing the soil while a friar sitting on the labourer's back eats from a bowl. The title asks the question, Will you never know what you're carrying on your back ?.

See also:


Alcalá Flecha, Roberto. Literatura e ideología en el arte de Goya. Zaragoza: Diputación General de Aragón, 1988.

Francisco Javier García Marco

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