An extremely fine impression, in the first edition, printed on laid paper, with delicate tone of the aquatint. A fingerprint in printer’s ink at the upper right margin between the edge of the image and the platemark, another below just on the left edge of the image and a third at the upper left corner; which are all marks of an early impression.
In fine, pristine condition, with good margins all around.
The print is of the greatest rarity and we must also note its provenance from the collection of a scholar who was among the first to study Goya as a printmaker.
We have here the possibility to appreciate Goya’s full command of the medium, the aquatint integrates perfectly with etching.
This is the most famous plate in the series: Goya had first wanted to use it as a title page. A preparatory drawing in the collection of the Prado in Madrid has the title Sueno 1°. Goya added a title in pencil, Ydioma univer / sal Dibujado/ y grabado p.r / Fran.co de Goya/ año 1797 [Language univer / sal Drawn / and engraved by / Francisco de Goya / in the year 1797], as well as indications on how to interpret the Caprices: El Autor Soñando. / Su yntento solo es desterrar bulgaridades perjudiciales, y perpetuar con esta obra de caprichos el testimonio solido de la verdad. [The author, asleep. / His only aim is to drive away harmful superstitions and to perpetuate, through this volume of caprices, the firm testimonial of truth]. In another sketch, also in the Prado Museum, two self-portraits of Goya are among the visions swarming around the sleeper: they encourage the interpretation in which the “sleeping author” would be Goya himself.