Francisco Goya, Time and the Old Women, 1810

Father Time looks over the shoulders of two old women, one of whom holds up a mirror to other. On the back of the mirror we see the words “Que tal?,” which means “How’s it going?” The woman in black was probably modeled after Goya’s venerated patron the Duchess of Osuna, while the figure in white is almost surely a satirical take on Queen María Luisa, who wears a diamond-encrusted arrow in her hair that she was known to have possessed. The queen was famous for her ugliness and vanity. The image reminds us that the march of time stops for no one, not even for the rich and powerful. A similar image can be found in Goya’s series of etchings Los Caprichos, known for its criticism of mankind’s follies.

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