Soldiers Frightened by a Phantom, from a once bound set of "Disparates" [also known as Proverbios], plate 2

Disparate de Miedo (Fearful Folly)

Drawn and etched about 1816-19; printed about 1848- 54
Francisco Goya y Lucientes (Spanish, 1746–1828)

Catalogue Raisonné

Harris 249, II, 1; Delteil 0203


Platemark: 24.2 x 35 cm (9 1/2 x 13 3/4 in.) Sheet: 26.4 x 37.5 cm (10 3/8 x 14 3/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Etching, burnished aquatint, direct bite (lavis (?), and tonal scratching; posthumous impression, early trial proof. Slightly textured, medium, cream wove paper, no watermark

Not On View


Europe, Prints and Drawings



Gray / black ink,clean-wiped, the plate with bevel
This impression before the scratch which occurs for impressions described by Harris 249, II, 2
Posthumous impression (printed between 1848-54 from a pre-publication, lightly bound set of 18 prints, within a tan paper cover with the inscription “GOYA / Los Proverbios / Madrid hacia 1848”.
The flyleaf of the set carries inscriptions by previous owner, Philip Hofer, including his printed label, and “Bought years ago - ca. 1938 [corrected to 1928] - Emil Hirsch in Munich.”

The preferred series title “Disparates” (Follies or Absurdities) is derived from titles in Goya’s hand on fourteen of the working proofs, of which this subject is one (Museo Lazaro Galdiano, Madris). A. Beruete (1918) and others invented titles containing “Disparate” for the rest, except “Modo de volar” (no. 13).

The term “Proverbios” was applied at the time of the printing of the first edition in 1864.


l.r. in red chalk (not Goya), "2"; l.l. across bottom in graphite in English cataloguing notations accroding to Delteil


About 1928, Emil Hirsch (dealer; b. 1866 – d. 1954) Munich and New York; by 1950, sold by Hirsch, or by his son-in-law, Hellmuth Wallach (dealer; b. 1901 – d. 1989), Munich and New York, to Philip Hofer (b. 1898 – d. 1984), Cambridge, MA [see note 1]; 1973 , sold by Philip Hofer, through R. M. Light, Boston, to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 13, 1973)

[1] There is a note on the flyleaf for this set of prints (MFA accession nos. 1973.701.1-18) in Philip Hofer’s hand that reads: "Bought years ago - ca. 1928 – Emil Hirsch in Munich". It is unclear precisely what Hofer’s note means. Hirsch was a Jewish rare book dealer in Munich, who was forced to close his business in May of 1937. He immigrated to the United States in 1938. His son-in-law, Hellmuth Wallach, likewise a dealer, fled Munich in 1937 and worked with Hirsch (at Emil Hirsch Rare Books and Prints) in New York beginning in 1938. According to Emanuel von Baeyer, The Hellmuth Wallach Collection: From the Master of the Tarocchi Cards to Manet (London, 2016), p. 122, Wallach sold the set of prints to Philip Hofer. Hofer first lent them to the MFA in 1950.

Credit Line

Bequest of Horatio Greenough Curtis and the Harvey D. Parker Collection—Harvey Drury Parker Fund, by exchange