About this artwork

A seated doctor accompanied by two students warms his hands over heated coals. This gesture and the leafless tree behind were both connected with winter, which may be the picture's theme. It is a cartoon (full size design) for a tapestry intended for a room in the royal palace of El Pardo. It was to be hung above a door which accounts for the bold colours, uncluttered composition and low view point, giving prominence to the dish of coals and the doctor's books. Goya had already produced tapestry designs for the same palace, illustrating contemporary pastimes, customs and fashions.

Francisco de Goya y Lucientes

Francisco de Goya y Lucientes

Goya was an original and enigmatic artist, equally gifted as a painter and printmaker. His appointment in 1786 as painter to the Spanish King Charles IV followed a period in Madrid where he had moved from the north east of Spain. Goya's reputation was built on a variety of works, including religious and historical paintings, portraits and designs for the Royal Tapestry Works. A serious illness in 1793 left him permanently deaf. His etchings illustrate his vivid imagination, exploring man's folly in 'Los Caprichos' and recording man's brutality in 'The Disasters of War'. He spent his last years in Bordeaux, France.