Marriage of Convenience – 2

2 – El sí pronuncian y la mano alargan al primero que llega (They say yes and give their hand to the first comer)

In this print, Goya turns his cynical eye to marriage at the end of the 18th century. In his notes he mentions the “ease with which many women rush to marry expecting to live with a greater degree of freedom” when in fact their families have simply married them off to rid themselves of a financial burden or because the daughters are no longer virgins.El_sí_pronuncian_y_la_mano_alargan_al_primero_que_llega

There is a great deal of symbolism in the print. The husband holds the young bride’s left hand and regards her coldly, no doubt thinking of the pleasures of the forthcoming wedding night, while the comb on the back of the bride’s head forms a face (identified by Goya as either that of a rat or a dog), which represents “the shrewish way the bride treats her servants“. The figure on the far left with its hands clasped in prayer depicts “a cheat in priestly robes“, representing the way the church takes advantage of weddings in order to make money, while drunken figures cheer at the bride’s feet, again taking advantage of the celebration’s food and drink.

On the far right of the picture, a man waves a stick angrily, possibly because he is one of the bride’s former lovers.


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