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The Burial of the Sardine

  • “The Burial of the Sardine”. San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts Museum, Madrid © Ministerio de Cultura

    “The Burial of the Sardine”. San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts Museum, Madrid © Ministerio de Cultura





1808 - 1812

Cultural background


Original title

El entierro de la sardina

This is a painting by Goya that has become an icon of the Carnival for Spanish people. Its expressionist vigour link it closely to Los Disparates and the “Black Paintings”.

Within Goya’s production this painting is a perfect example of a work that was conceived and created in total freedom, either for himself or as a gift to close friends. As a result, he could let his whim and invention run free, as he himself wrote. The crowd, captured with the force of a snapshot, is celebrating Carnival by drinking and dancing on the banks of the Manzanares River around flag bearing the face of Momo. The preparatory drawing (in the Prado Museum) shows a skeleton on the flag, which was also Goya’s first idea in the painting and is still visible with the legend MORTUS under the smiling face of Momo.
The painting was donated in a will in 1836 by Manuel García de la Prada, a close friend of Goya’s.

Details of the work


82 x 60 cm.




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