1791-1792. Oil on canvas, 262 x 160 cm.
Three women have come to fill their pitchers at a fountain. Two are young and the third, middle aged. The one in the foreground, and the eldest, gaze directly at the viewer with an attentive and bold look of complicity, like the boy that accompanies them. The young women balance the pitchers on their heads with a difficult equilibrium, a traditional symbol of feminine virtue. Goya paints the pitchers covered and uncovered and one of the women, who is in profile, listens as the middle-aged one whispers something in her ear. This is an allusion to the subject of the matchmaker that Goya dealt with repeatedly in his work. The painting is a cartoon for one of the tapestries intended for Carlos IV's office at El Escorial. It depicts a country scene, as was requested by the Monarch, but as was customary for this painter, a social message underlies the realistic surface. This work also refers to women's domination of men, an obsession that Goya reflected in many of his works.