At the end of 1773 an Indian elephant, brought for the royal ménagerie at Aranjuez, was shown in the streets of Madrid. The resulting public fascination provoked by the intrusion of this exotic animal can be traced through poems (Tomás de Iriarte), short plays (Ramón de la Cruz), articles in the periodical press, popular and scientific prints representing the animal, and even in the costumbrista pastels of Lorenzo Tiepolo. The mythic and premodern knowledge of animal nature collides in a debate with the new scientific observation. In the final decades of the 18th century, the image of the captive elephant acquired in Europe a new symbolic meaning linked with the political fight against slavery. All these very different elements converge in Goya's Disparate de bestia.
|Number of pages||18|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2003|