Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

The old women of Francisco Goya


Time is running out for these two decrepit old crones who clearly have seen better days. In this 1820 painting titled El Tiempo, Francisco Goya shows the figure of Cronos hovering over the two women, ready to sweep them away with a broom into the memory of time. The woman in white, her face besmirched with make-up and wearing expensive jewelry, has an extravagant hair-do pierced by an arrow of love, symbol of Cupid. She holds in her hands a medallion, perhaps of a lover who jilted her a long time ago. Could she, like Charles Dickens’s Miss Havisham, still be wearing her wedding dress? The woman in black, perhaps a companion, looks at herself in a mirror. Both women would be familiar sights for doctors making rounds on the increasingly large population housed in nursing homes, not all necessarily as elegant as those painted by Goya.

El Tiempo by Francisco Goya. c. 1810. Credit: Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille, Photographed by The Yorck Project. Public Domain



GEORGE DUNEA, MD, Editor-in-Chief


Fall 2019  |  Sections  |  Art Flashes

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