The Drunken Weaver – 18

18 –Y se le quema la casa (And his house burns down)

An old man – trousers half on and with a dumb, drunken expression – stumbles past a chair on which an oil lamp burns. A large pile of straw lies behind the chair and, in his drunkenness, the old man has knocked the flame into the straw, which is beginning to burn.

This is another example of Goya using the Los Caprichos prints as simple reportage: the old man in the print is a weaver of esparto grass, and drunkenness among members of this profession was seen as a major social scourge in 18th century Spain (presumably because of the disastrous consequences of dropping open flames onto dry grass, and the lack of efficient fire-fighting equipment back then).

Goya writes, ‘He can neither fully remove nor pull up his pants. What wonders does wine achieve! And so he burns alive with his pants in his hands.’

18 - 'Y_se_le_quema_la_casa