21 – ¡Cual la descañonan! (How they pluck her clean!)
This is the third consecutive print in the series to deal with the subject of prostitution in late 18th century Spain.
Use of the image of a human/bird hybrid has been established as a trope in the previous two prints. This time, however, Goya’s sympathies are clearly with the woman.
In the print, two men with distinctly feline features have hold of the wings of a woman/bird hybrid. One gnaws at her wing, while the other restrains her. Behind them, a man in judge’s clothing stares impassively into the distance, ignoring the attack going on before him.
Goya wrote, ‘Chief Judges often protect notaries and bailiffs so that they can rob and fleece these fallen women with impunity. Persecution of the younger prostitutes is how they earn their bread and butter . . . ‘