Deaf Man

Goya, Francisco

Primary Category: Visual Arts / Painting/Drawing

Genre: Oil on gesso

Annotated by:
Bertman, Sandra
  • Date of entry: Dec-28-2006
  • Last revised: Dec-16-2009


An old man stands against a black background and looks impassively towards the left-hand side of the painting. He holds a long cane in both hands upon which he leans. Behind his right shoulder a demonic creature appears to yell into the old man's ear. The creature's hand wraps around the old man's shoulder, but despite the physical contact the old man seems not to notice his fiendish companion.


Goya suffered from a serious illness in his later years that left him deaf. During these years of old age and debilitation he secluded himself in a house near Manzanares that was known as the Quinta del Sordo or the "House of the Deaf Man." During this time, Goya composed his so-called "black paintings."

This painting provides insight into the isolation and mental anguish created by an illness or disability. Compare Deaf Man to other Goya works including Las Viejas and He Can No Longer at the Age of 98, annotated this database.


Painted 1820-1823 when Goya was in his early 70s. At the online site for this painting, the Web Gallery of Art , the title is "Two Monks" and the painting is listed under the "Black Paintings" section of Goya's work.

Primary Source

Prado Museum, Madrid