17 – Bien tirada está (It is nicely stretched )
Number 17 of Los Caprichos is the third consecutive print to deal with the theme of prostitution. A young prostitute is shown pulling a stocking up above her right knee, while an old woman squats beside her, presumably helping to prepare her charge for a night’s work.
As I have mentioned elsewhere, Goya’s attitude towards prostitutes throughout the series of prints is ambiguous. Sometimes he shows genuine sympathy towards their plight, but none of this is evident in the notes linked with this particular print, and his tone is censorious.
The print’s title is based around a play on words in Spanish (“tirada” can mean both “stretched” and “fallen”) the sense of which is difficult to capture in translation, so I have had to play with Goya’s words a little: ‘A prostitute displays her beautiful leg. Well she knows what she may gain by ensuring her stockings are well stretched and pulled up high, but there is nothing so low and fallen as a whore.‘