Nanny’s Boy – 4

4 – El de la Rollona (Nanny’s boy)

This print depicts a moustached man wearing infantile clothing and sucking his own thumb while the shadowy figure of a servant in the background pulls an 18th-century El_de_la_Rollonaversion of a baby walker. The image satirises the useless sons of the Spanish aristocracy. Goya says “The sons of the Grandees are always brought up to be nanny’s boys, sucking their thumbs, stuffing themselves with food and surrounded by servants without whom they are useless”.

The figure of the “nanny’s boy” was a well-known and popular grotesque from 18th century Spanish theatre and was always depicted wearing ridiculously infantile clothing. The nanny’s boy in Goya’s picture also wears a number of charms that hang from his waist, a reference to the superstitious practices that Goya criticises elsewhere in the Los Caprichos prints.

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