1779. Oil on canvas, 261 x 470 cm.
In his bill sent to the Tapestry Manufactory, Goya emphasised the large number of figures depicted here: two groups of three players, each occupying his specific position: forward, midfielder and defender, plus another "twenty-five" figures in Goya's description watching the match, arranged in different groups and poses. Goya depicts the moment when the ball on the ground has reached the stopping point before it passes the winning line, pointed out by an enthusiastic spectator.The scene constitutes a compositional tour de force in which Goya proves his mastery of perspective and the use of painterly technique, of light and color, to create space and relations of proximity and distance without the viewer ever noticing the rigor and dryness of its geometry. In this painting, the artist reveals his knowledge of the great Italian artists from both the Renaissance and the Baroque.
This cartoon was for the main tapestry in the bedroom of the Prince and Princess of Asturias at the El Pardo Palace. The composition's setting "the outskirts of Madrid" links the subjects of the tapestries from the bedroom's antechamber to those in the bedroom itself. Access to the series of tapestry cartoons: The Fair in Madrid; The Pottery Vendor; The Military Man and the Lady; The Haw Seller; Boys playing at Soldiers; The Game of Pelota.