12 – A caza de dientes (Out hunting for teeth)
In this print, Goya again attacks ignorance and superstition in 18th century Spain. The image depicts a young woman, handkerchief held to her face, reaching into the mouth of a dead man dangling from a rope, pulling out his teeth. This refers to a popular belief that the teeth of a hanged man could be used in spells to ensure success in love.
Goya writes, ‘The teeth of those killed by hanging are extremely useful for the casting of spells; without this ingredient one cannot gain profit or benefit. It is a shame that the lower classes still believe such foolishness.‘
In another set of notes, Goya writes, ‘Of what things is a woman capable when she is in love! In order to get what she wants, above all if she is in love, she is capable of ripping the teeth from a hanged man’.