Between 1819 and 1823, Francisco de Goya produced a group of twenty-two prints of dark and unsettling satires. A woman and a horse—let someone else master them is based on a story in which a man is turned into a horse and, subsequently, falls in love with a married woman. His jealous rage drives him to kill her husband and abduct her. Here, Goya portrays the man-turned-horse reared on his hind legs with the woman flailing from his mouth. It is a scene of untamed power and unbridled passion. This already disconcerting tale takes place in a surreal, even grotesque landscape. What at first appear to be mountains are actually rodent-like creatures—one wide-eyed and poised for attack, the other devouring what may be the remains of the woman’s husband.
Label from Menagerie: Animals on View, March 11–June 4, 2017