1777. Oil on canvas, 275 x 414 cm.
This tapestry cartoon represents a quarrel among men in front of a tavern which Goya calls the New Tavern. The area near Madrid now called "Ventas", and known as "Ventas del Espíritu Santo" in Goya's time, was frequented by muleteers, caleche drivers, troublemakers and gamblers, as Goya illustrates here. The cards thrown on the table seem to be the origin of the dispute. The subject recalls other compositions from the Flemish and Dutch tradition, although the grandeur of the composition is directly taken from Italian classicism. There are even some motifs drawn from Roman statuary. The resultant tapestry was intended to hang in the dining room of the Prince and Princess of Asturias (the future Carlos IV and his wife Maria Luisa de Parma) at the Monastery of El Escorial. This work was part of a decorative series of ten cartoons for tapestries on "countryside" subjects. Goya, himself, invented the specific composition of the present one. This work entered the Prado Museum Collection in 1870 by way of Madrid's Royal Palace. Access to the series of ten tapestry cartoons destined for the dining room of the Prince and Princess of Asturias at the palace of El Pardo: The Picnic; Dance on the Banks of the Manzanares; A Fight at the Venta Nueva; An Avenue in Andalusia or The Maja and the cloaked Men; The Drinker; The Parasol; The Kite; The Card Players; Children blowing up a Bladder; Boys picking Fruit.