19 – Todos caerán (All will fall)
This is where things start to get weird.
Some of Goya’s etchings are infamous for the scabrous and complex nature of the images they depict; this is the first of those.
The print shows two prostitutes impaling on a roasting spit a plucked bird with a human head, while their wrinkled procuress – her hands clasped together in prayer – gazes upwards towards more of the bird/human hybrids that flutter around a female version of themselves resting on a perch.
Goya’s notes make it clear the print is intended as a criticism of organised prostitution. He writes, ‘Those about to fall should learn from the example of those that have fallen. But it is of no use: all will fall.
‘A whore displays herself in a window , and all types of ragamuffins, soldiers, friars and compatriots rush to flutter around her. The procuress prays that they will fall so that the other whores can pluck them clean . . . and rip out their insides.’