Modo de Volar, from: Los Proverbios
etching with aquatint and drypoint, circa 1815-24, on wove paper, without watermark, a very good impression from the First Edition, published by the Real Academia de Nobles Artes de San Fernando, Madrid, 1864

Plate 245 x 351 mm.
Sheet 326 x 468 mm.

Delteil 214; Harris 260
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Lot Essay

Modo de Volar (A way of flying), also known by its alternative title Donde hay ganas hay maña (Where there’s a will there’s a way), is one of the most famous images from Goya’s final printed series, Los Proverbios. Goya used both etching and aquatint to create this powerful image and, as the fine-grained aquatint wears fairly quickly during the printing process, impressions from the first edition are of superior quality and far more sought after than impressions from later editions. The artist did not engrave titles on the etching plates for this series, unlike with Los Caprichos and La Tauromaquia, and so their intended meaning is unknown and subject to much speculation and interpretation, adding another degree of mystery to these haunting images. However it has been suggested that this fantastical image of a man in flight may refer to Leonardo da Vinci’s late 15th-century designs for a flying machine. One interpretation of the image could suggest the futility in pursuing such an endeavour or conversely that anything is possible with enough perseverance and determination. As always, Goya’s work remains ambiguous and it is perhaps this uncertainty which lies at the heart of his art.
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