"Suerte de Varas" , 1824 ("Lucky Strikes") is a magnificent painting from Goya's "Tauromaquia" series presently in permanent exhibition at the prestigious "J.P.Getty Museum" Copyright J.P. Getty Museum.
These images of the "Suerte de Varas" painting are being shown here for educational purposes only. No participation in this exercise from the part of the J.P. Getty Museum is to be inferred, or implied whether explicitly or implicitly. It is the sole intention of the editor to graphically illustrate Goya's symbolisms using a recognized, known and irrefutable painting of his, property of the J.P. Getty Museum and therefore pristine from any suspicion of manipulation whatsoever.
1.-Left lower corner, in red circle, a "face" quite in a mortuary state, can you ascertain the closed eyes, features, broad bald or shaved head, and head dressed with a very aristocratic "coif".? Of course everything masterful incorporated in the composition.
2.-Right on top of it, left side of photo,  in a vertically  elongated red circle. The image  must be inverted (clockwise 180 degrees) to be fully appreciated. Once upside-down, can you notice another face? A rather elongated face, semi profiled, pointed nose, mouth wide open like in a howling scream, a very thick blond thick hair like being blown sideways towards the center of the painting, very noticeable thick left eyebrow, closed eyes with extremely long eyelashes, clearly visible pointed splitted chin, these "goyaesque" faces are often semi distorted as expressing intense emotions, could it be in this instance the artistic expression of the pain and suffering inflicted to the animal, however dignified in its defiant firm posture amid the chaos, in this "bravura charade"...?
Once you have detected the graphism, you can more easily discern the details within it, masterfully disguised, see the teeth inside the mouth of this last goyaesque character! Observe (you can even use a magnifier) split chin of this Goya's  hidden face.
3.-And, last but not least, how the Grand Master of double-entendre in the art of skillful and sublime deception (remember the Inquisition? He was living right along with it!) could not but laugh at himself, while depicting the delivery of a cruel death by the "picador", how could he not mock this frightful and deadly scene so well covered up with the glamour of "La Gran Fiesta Torera?"
Now, again, the image has to be turned left as if to stand on its left margin. Can you see another face right in the center circle.? A grotesque old nanny... with round spectacles? (If you observe attentively you will even notice the eyes..) A disgust like grimace on her sideways twisted mouth? A ridicule rounded nose? Can you see,  the white broidery of her head dress? Is this, indeed, a very sophisticated mockery? And, yes, there are more graphic symbolisms within the whole painting, this is just a section of it...
It has been said that terms as "gestalt" "apophrenia" and "paredoilia" ( *see definitions) might be at fault in these observations, whether they are psychologically induced, product of a fervent imagination, undue influence and suggestion, it is up to you, are you seeing these symbolisms?... or are you just..imagining that you are seeing them...?
Gestalt: School of psychology founded in the 20th century that provided the foundation for the modern study of perception. Gestalt theory emphasizes that the whole of anything is greater than its parts.
Apophrenia:A heightened state of perception in which the ineffable connections between events become clear, though perhaps not yet susceptible to rational explanation. 2. A fancied disorder of the human mind in which the heightened perceptions of clear-minded individuals or groups are misinterpreted by those of muddier intellect as aberrant or pathological.
Paredoilia:Pareidolia is a type of illusion or misperception involving a vague or obscure stimulus being perceived as something clear and distinct.
It is our intention to reproduce this exercise and graphically show (with animation) many other different graphic symbolisms in other very well known Goya's paintings. It becomes a repetitive, objective experience...or is it as Mrs.Manuela Mena has said" "madness..?"

Goya has been worldly recognized, among other things, as the "Father of Modernism", the First Impressionist, the Beginner of the Symbolists (see note) , anticipating all the artistic movements from his time on until today (impressionism, surrealism, cubism, etc... ).Such an inmense talent should not surprise us with yet another prestigious set of adjectives...
Note: Definition of "Symbolism in Art": Symbolist painters stressed art's subjective, symbolic, and decorative functions and turned to the mystical and occult in an attempt to evoke subjective states of mind by visual means.

Your comments most welcome at:
Or , if you prefer to ask"El Prado":  museo.nacional@prado.mcu.es

A detail from the encircled area shown before. Highlighted within the richly decorated "bolero"attire of the picador are examples of the sophistication and mastery of Francisco Goya imbedding his symbolisms as his "parallel" form of artistic expresion.
# 1.-Horizontally oriented  bald head, eyes closed, features discernible, a semi profile with detailed nose and mouth closed. A subliminal mortuary representation of one of those Goya's hidden faces? These images are imbedded in the heavy "impasto" of the painting.
#2 Inverted and vertically oriented in the painting , once redressed, distinguishable semi-profiled elongated human face appears.
Unsettled blondish hair, 
closed eyes with very distinctive, over proportioned  arched, particularly thick eyebrows along with remarkably prominent eye lashes, mouth opened wide (even upper and lower jaws white teeth are discernible), pointed chin.
s it there an intention by the ingenious Spanish Old Master to disguise... a howling scream? A "grimace of pain?
Use of a magnifier lens can further enhance details.

# 3.- Caricaturesque, cartoonish old "lady or matron face" with a grimace and eye glasses (spectacles). This peculiar representation of an obviously ridiculous surreal old "nanny's" face, with its rounded spectacles (you can even discern if examined with a magnifier lens the eyes behind them...!)

A contorted mouth in a disgusting grimace is quite obvious, if you observe more, you can also distinguish the white brodery cloth surrounding her hair, a high collar headwear of sorts. 

The Milk Maid of Bordeaux.
La Lechera de Budeo (The Milkmaid of Bordeaux). Notice that the subject is directly staring at the blurred semi profiled bearded man's face. Visible dark hair, thick eyebrows, goatee beard. Click on picture for details.
Embedded face in famous Goya's painting "The Dog" (El Perro) hung at El Prado. Similar to another cryptic conspicuously disguised bearded man's face found in "The Milkmaid of Bordeaux".
Perro Hundido por Goya. Museo del Prado
Perro hundido by Goya. Hung at El Prado Museum. Observe dog'staring upwards towards the diffused face' CLICK ON PICTURE FOR FULL DETAILS.
Very similar face to the one existing in "The Milkmaid of Bordeaux".
Contrasting color isolation of goyaesque man's hidden semi profile face. Eyebrows, eyes, nose and small beard goatee style) are discernible. CLICK ON PICTURE.
Evidencia irrefutable de la existencia de rostros ocultos y simbolismos en otros Antiguos Maestros de la pintura mundial. Acaso la inspiracion inicial de Goya?
Old Italian Master's Symbolism one of Goya's inspiration?
Hidden face in Italian Old Master Giotto fresco. Click on photo for original English language article.
Goya estuvo en Italia estudiando Grandes Maestros, entre ellos Laonardo DaVinci. Descubrio genialmente estos simbolismos ocultos y aplico esta tecnica a sus cuados. Cliqueepara articulo en espanol.
Goya no fue el unico ni el primer Antiguo Maestro en insertar rostros ocultos subliminalmente en sus pinturas. Cliquee sobre foto para articulo original en espanol.
A Goya small cryptic- mini-signature is discovered in a deep study of a sanguine attributed to DaVinci. Complete story original web page follows.
Da Vinci sanguine made by Goya?
DaVinci's attributed auto-portrait sanguine. Another Goya's genial mastery kraftmanship hiding the letters G-O-Y-A cryptically embedded in the left eye. CLICK ON PICTURE FOR FULL DATA RICH ARTICLE.
Tecnnical expose of the hidden Goya's signature in supossed DaVinci.
Non highlited untouched detail of sanguine.
Untouched original eye image on sanguine.
Traced in red G-O-Y-A embedded in eye design
G-O-Y-A Highlight in red.
The "hidden faces" of Goya, occult graphic symbolisms disguised within the pictorial image that went unnoticed for almost 200 years!
"Portrait of unknown woman". Oleo over canvas certified as a Goya by two renownd Goya specialists
Painting property of Mr.&Mrs.Stryker and the subject of their recently published book "As Good as Gold". Possibly a portrait of Josefa Bayeu, according to its owners.

1.-Observe a sideways looking blue and white underneath bird, vertically positioned. Its topside is blue and the lower part of the head and body is white. The bird's beak is quite visible facing left, toward the center of the image, it is of a brownish color and also discernible is the slit of the eye of this goyaesque bird..possibly a "blue jay" o an "azulejo?"

Disclaimer: This comparison exercise is done exclusively for educational purposes. The owners of the painting shown here have in no way endorsed or participated in it, and it has no other intention except that one of illustrating the graphic symbolisms contained within it, typical of Goya, for the personal appreciation of this site's visitors. For further information on this painting, please visit  here: http://www.eeweems.com/goya/striker_family.html

2.-Here another  looking small bird is also visible. Apparently a "humming bird". Again it is located like sideways, directly facing the larger one on the other side of the head dress at the same level. Attentively observe its diminutive beak pointed rightwards and, if you use a magnifying glass, the shape of its wings. Again, its white underbelly helps to delineate him, acting as an isolating contrasting color to render it visible under scrutiny.

3.-A very stylized "eagle's or falcon's (halcon) head".  The difference in colors from the top of the head, which is of a blending brownish, the pointed beak, the slit of the closed eye and part of its feathery neck fading into the scarf of the portrait lady are clearly visible and once noted, it becomes almost impossible not to be attracted to it, what else could it possibly be, there on top of her left shoulder?

Transparented image cannot be augmented as pixalation will occur.

4.-Now, this one requires somewhat of a trained eye, this is the "non plus ultra" of Goya's symbolisms. A kind of "graduation test" for the keen eyed observer or investigator. Since Goya had used the "esfumatta" or transparency smoky image it is not evident (wouldn't that defeat the purpose?) but once it is located and properly examined with detention, from a certain distance you will see a cat's face staring at you, somewhat inclined to its left side, you can even see its snout, ever so slightly darker, the eyes, the shape of its ears, and if you really look attentively you will even discern..the whiskers! All in a masterful impression of transparency! This same "cat's face" symbolism has been discovered in many of Goya's works (see page 7 "More evidence" painting of Marquesa de Santiago) one of them being the recently discovered "La Inmaculada."

The "esfumatta" technique is often used by Goya for his hidden faces, blended in the sky scape, in the backgrounds of his paintings, and it certainly requires a detailed and sustained attention, but it is visible. Once that you have acquired the "taste" and discovered the magic of Goya's symbolisms you will notice more and more fine details in them.

5.-This graphic symbolism has to be observed while the painting has been turned clockwise (to the right) 90 degrees. It is the head of a duck, not blue, but grey, with a  rounded head, visible black eye, and a split beak of a totally different color than the face. Observe the details, as said before, once you have discovered Goya's magic, you will detect more and more detail that  have been left out on purpose for your enjoyment in this pursuit...

Quoted (translated into English) from the pages of the official Spanish copyright of Prof. Antonio Perales Martinez: " I have been able to state that many of them (referring to the graphic symbolisms) are particularly repeated in many of his works, it seems like he had a predilection for birds looking sideways, ducks, cats.... To be able to locate them in his artistic productions it is necessary to turn around his work repeatedly in order to arrive to conclusions, and to make them feasible to be observed by persons that do not customarily examine the paintings in this particular way, these graphic symbolisms, on top of being curiously original,  mean that Francisco de Goya wanted to carry us away from the central theme and while masquerading his opinions,his symbols, from  his critics, from the people of his time, seemingly he has been able to preserve them all along his life..."

Ron Piccirillo, a  Rochester University Art Student reveals to the  world press the existence  of hidden animal representations or symbolisms in DaVinci's " Mona Lisa", perhaps the most studied, analyzed painting of all times. Click in link below to see actual video of NBC news and follow the other links for the original Press articles.




Es un hecho historico comprobado que Francisco de Goya permanecio  anos estudiando los Grandes Antiguos Maestros Italianos en la propia Italia. Fueron estos genios artisticos los que infundaron o incitaron a que el genial Goya tambien aplicara esta tecnica del "arte  oculto", de simbologia pictorica en sus creaciones? 

Hidden symbolic faces in famous Goya painting. "Lucky Skrikes" OR "Suerte de Varas" from his "tauromaquia" collection.

The argument has been risen that these symbolisms, as well as the micro signatures, don't exist, that they all are the  product of some kind of "mental illness", that they do not represent any images painted on purpose, that they are "random configurations" whose interpretation is the result of an "afflicted mind", that they also are  "irrational fantasies" of a deranged mind living in some kind of "land of  dreams..."  Well, a rational, well balanced mind would ask, how come that many different persons do see them, in so many different paintings, in so many different countries? How come that recognized art people like Dr.Rolph Mendgessy, Prof. Juan Ignacio de La Vega,  Manuel Real Alarcon, Prof.Paolo Erasmo Mangiante, Didier Pouech, Agustin de la Herran, Paulino Gimenez, among many others, also recognize the existence of the miniaturized signatures and graphics that have even been shown in full contrasting color by the computerized program developed by an university's specialized staff? How to ignore the fact that diminutive signatures in these prominent, knowledgeable persons "afflicted" too?

How many "random configurations" , in one single painting, or in many,  are needed in order to understand, to accept, the possibility that they are NOT random at all?

The alternative? As more and more open minded and inquisitive persons realize the veracity of what they actually "see" we might  very well be in the presence of a very contagious "mental ailment of some kind"... You decide.

As in the other painting examined before this, these are just samples, there are indeed some more of Goya's graphisms in it, but, again... are you really seeing these things, or have you become infected with the purported...madness??


What if you had a Goya at home...and you don't know it!
Experience, dedication and maximum care are a must in the extensive process of authentication

How to find out if you are the unknowing owner of a work of art worth millions? And...you don’t know it! Sometimes, forgotten in our attics may lay asleep authentic jewels of art.

These scientific tests will verify if you are in front of an original, or a fraud!
It may seem impossible or incredible, but the cases of valuable works of art that “appear” by mere casualty are in fact much more frequent that one would imagine. Sometimes they have been discovered while they were transferred from one hand to another, other times while “digging” in that old trunk…The truth is that whenever doubts exist the important thing is to “date” the piece and for that it is fundamental to perform both a historical and a style search on the piece.

In these cases the Museum “experts” often ask the scientists for help, whose techniques to uncover or discover the tricky and falsified ones, essentially, do not differ from those used by the forensic technicians in a morgue. One of the most generalized methods to properly “date” and authenticate a piece of art is to X ray it, either with the mentioned type of rays or the “beta” which are the most sensitive to light.  This system allows to verify, for instance, if traces of mercury appear in a "dusk of vermilion" (a very bright red), which will coincide with a landscape painted in the first quarter of the XVIII Century. Nevertheless, this technique has a little drawback as usually you must take a sample of the canvas, which will force you to cut a little piece of it, of course, logically it is always intended to destroy the minimum possible.

Ultraviolet light, on the other hand, informs about the presence of retouches and previous etchings in an original painting. If someone has retouched it, dark patches will appear. By this means one can know if Rubens bothered to finish a painting or if he delegated the final details to any of his apprentices in his workshop. In such a case the appraisal of the canvas can drop by several millions of Euros.

The infrared analysis also reveal previous etchings and “pentimenti”, changes of opinion on the part of the artist and they are useful to verify if the finished work, or a portion of it has been painted “alla prima”, that is, directly and without any previous etching or silhouetting.
Another classical method for dating is the analysis with “carbon 14”. The amount found of this isotope diminishes in the dead tissues at an exact rate (it is divided by half every 5.730 years).
This system is only applicable to organic residues like wood, paper or…any pigment from animal or vegetal origin. Even more interesting is the dendrochronology a technique that analyzes the wood of antique furniture or picture’s frames and it is done by measuring the width of its annual concentric rings growth. Very accurate with oak and pine, but gives little calculation mistakes with other types of wood.
Thanks to the Raman effect (
determined by the normal optical properties of the atoms or molecules) one can bombard a canvas with a laser and thus imprint a sort of “molecular dactyl (digital) print”.
This is the way to distinguish the pigments and varnishes of each of the Masters.  This procedure has the advantage that it is not a destructive technique and allows the analysis of particles which diameter is inferior to a thousand of a millimeter, where certainly the magnifying lens of the scholar doesn’t reach…

A classic painting is composed of four layers. The foundation to prepare the canvas, the background, the pictorial film and the varnish. 

The falsifier must be able to imitate each and every one of the stratuses if he wants not to be unmasked by the chromatography test. This technique is really simple: microscopic samples are taken and heated, later their combustion gas composition is analyzed and, if acrylic agglutinants are found, the painting is posterior to 1930. That is, in the case the collector has paid a fortune for a Manet portrait he may as well start contacting the Interpol.
The pigment analysis is a very trustworthy method. T
he white from lead is so toxic that more than one ancient artist died because he didn’t use to wash his hands after using it. In the XX century it was replaced by the titanium white, a non carcinogen.
Now, as a complement of the pigment analysis we have the fiber analysis.
In the case of paper, its place of origin can be determined by its texture, whether cotton, banana peel, etc). First rate geographical information is also furnished by the ingredients used in to fix or settle the ink (potato or proteins, for instance.)  Therefore, if a Chinese calligraphy doesn’t have a small portion of rice flour over the satin paper where it is imprinted, hum... beware.

Monochromatic sodium arc lamps are excellent to discover hidden signatures under several layers of paint. The electronic photons sweeping microscope magnifies a sample several thousand  times and therefore helps to perform its morphological analysis as well as the topographic one, which are then digitalized and stored  into a data bank.
Later on, elemental analyses will determine if the “ochre” contains iron, or if the Prussian blue is really Prussian (created in 1724) or if the black background contains mineral (coal) or vegetal carbon .

The certification of a work of art doesn’t come cheap.

The minimal cost of a "classical" historical or stylistic analysis is well over the 1,500 Euros (+/- 2,100 USD) to which any laboratory tests have to be added, if required. (Don’t even think about the cost of restoration…!). That’s why the “free” appraisals  are carried out in the art’s and antiques fairs, like that one of Madrid.
Now, where is the solution to stop the piracy that is affecting the editorial and musical fields so it doesn’t fatten itself with the art world, too?

Well, it might well be the in signature of the artist that soon won’t be a scribble in a corner of the canvas to become a microchip or a kind of “DNA like” type mark inimitable by any falsifier. At least, in theory.

The casual finding of two non catalogued, inedit and previously unknown Goya’s paintings has sharpened the art galleries, museums and private collector's teeth.The polemic and controversial theme has transcended the small world of the auctions and has induced many non-believers to wonder if it would be worthwhile, after all, to dust and shake the spiders web's off that forgotten inherited painting, that old rug or that piece of furniture almost devoured by termites. Who knows…?


NOTE:Article published on September 16, 2004 in the Spanish weekly magazine “El Semanal”, page 54, section “Conocer Arte". By spanish journalist Carlos Manuel Sanchez.


Article title: "In a broken Bag..."
Heraldo de Aragon, Friday the 6th. January 2006

Goya,  micro signer

In the main circle of the Gran Hotel and with Christmas decorations  so modern that included hot water bags and home strainers, I converse with Antonio Perales restaurateur and expert in Goya, who has been for years trying that his method of identification of goyaesque works be universally accepted, this is to say, to be accepted by Prado o more concretely, by Manuela Mena, who happens to be the "Big Boss" in these expertises.

The method of Antonio Perales is sustained by seven technical tests but the real "beef" or at least the most characteristic one of his method is the revealing in Goya's paintings of micro signatures, barely perceptible at plain sight. According to Perales, the Aragonese genius imprinted them during the preparation of the painting in the most unexpected places as to leave no doubt about its author and to avoid confusions with imitations or copies.Like if it wasn't difficult to paint like Goya!

To avoid his method from  been copied, Perales patented the microsignatures thing in 1996, regardless, others already have adopted this norm of goyaesque investigation. It is rumored, that even though "officially repudiated" it is being "discretely " used by other renowned Goya traditional specialists to insure accurate atributions.... (See next page.)

Perales shows me dozens of Goya's paintings and the micro signatures that are revealed by radiographies and reflectographies, and that often multiply themselves in the same painting. It becomes quite clear that this Goya of ours was a very mistrusting and "mefiant" guy and placed signatures everywhere...just in case.

-"That is, the expertise of a painting from Goya is simple" IF there are micro signatures, it is from Goya "-I said to Perales- right there in that Hotel circle where coincidentally a clandestine smoker has sneaked in....

-"It is a definitive element."-

The truth is that it really looks like to be the case but what I don't know is if Manuela Mena is going for it. With all the doubts that have lately assaulted many experts about the authorship of Goya's paintings -to the point that they even doubt that the black paintings are his- "I just don't know why, without further ado, they don't just pay attention to Perales and start looking for those microsignatures! "

Article by Juan Dominguez Lasierra. (Non  verbatim Spanish translation.)

(Perhaps El Prado would answer that question to you!)  museo.nacional@prado.mcu.es

Has a previously unknown Goya's etching (a "sanguina", a rare kind of etching done with red ink on paper) been unearthed?
Another Goya is discovered in Malaga, restorer finds Goya's hidden markings.
A restorer from Malaga with no relationship at all with Prof.Perales also discovered hidden Goya's "trade marks", imbeded graphisms, a hidden cat's Click on image for a related article. (Spanish Language)

It is every art collector's dream;beneath clumsy overpainting and the murk of centuries, restorers cleaning an ancient oil painting find an unknown work by an Old Master.

Paulino Gimenez, an art restorer from Malaga, announced at the weekend, after 10 months of investigation, that a privately owned painting atributed to Salvador Maella, a lesser contemporary of the Spanish painter Francisco de Goya , was the work of the master himself.

The "new" Goya is known  as the "Inmaculada" (The Immaculate Virgin) and shows the Virgin Mary standing on clouds gazing into heaven.

It is valued at several US millions and auction houses are competing to take charge of the sale.

The work is thought to have been painted around 1781 when Goya then 35 and already winning important commissions  was painting similar works.

"Through X-rays and chemical investigation of the pigment and the canvas we have found several similarities between this painting and another Goya of the same period, in particular a so-called hidden face typical of Goya's work, a cat, which is in the cloud on which the Virgin stands," said Mr Gimenez.

Not content with his own conclusions, Mr Gimenez sought the help of a chemical scientist, Enrique Parra Crego of Madrid's Analytical Laboratory for the Restoration and Conservation of Artworks. Dr. Crego concluded that the preparation, materials and canvas were "consistent with the atribution to Francisco de Goya".

In particular, the "Inmaculada" shows similarities with two of Goya's best-known works that hang in the Prado Museum in Madrid. They are the twin scenes of Madrid's ill-fated revolt against Napoleon's occupying troops in 1808, El Dos de Mayo and El Tres de Mayo [the Second and Third of May].

Furthermore, details of the "Inmaculada" are comparable to a similar work "Asunta" that Goya painted in 1781, particularly the face of one of the angels, and a shadow cast on the Virgin's arm. That painting is privately owned. "Everything suggests that both works were created by Goya at around the same date," says Mr Gimenez. Another comparable painting is a Goya crucifixion in the Prado.

The painting, dated between the late Baroque era and the beginnings of Neoclassicism, was taken to Mr Gimenez's workshop in Malaga in January in an appalling state. The canvas was not only ravaged by the passage of more than two centuries, but had been inexpertly overpainted to obscure its original religious nature, and repeatedly revarnished.

This is not the first unrecognised Goya to have been been recently discovered. Last year two previously unknown works were found by chance when experts went to value another painting in a collector's home in Madrid. They found one Goya on a bedroom wall and another lurking in a dark corridor. The owner had no idea who painted the works and had considered them of little value. But Mr Gimenez had every reason to be cautious before going public with his discovery.

Contact us: goya@goyadiscovery.com