Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters

The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters by Goya is a very dark piece of art. I see it as in your dreams the things you try to hide find their way out of the dark corners of your mind and surface in your dreams. The animals mean different things like according to the Art Book Goya the bats are symbols of " filth and lust becoming ever more menacing as they circle the dreamers head." and the cats have always been a symbol of witchcraft. That is only one interpretation though. I think the bats are a symbol of everything evil the person has ever thought about consciously or unconsciously. The cats if you look there are two of them and they might be a symbol of white and black magic but I see them as the two sides of a person the white one being good and the black one being evil. I didn't see the black cat at first because he is hiding and the white cat is more apparent I think this symbolizes the fact that everyone has two sides good and evil and one is always more visible than the other in this person it's his good half that is more prominent. Still the dark side of him is there lurking in the shadows trying to make them do dark things. I also noticed that everything on the person is white except for his head this shows how all the dark thoughts come from his mind everything that he has dreamt up all the animals come from his restless mind. I was attracted to this artwork because it was so dark it reminded me of when my mom would read me poems out of this massive Edgar Allen Poe book he was her favorite poet and since then Edgar Allen Poe is still nostalgic for me it reminds me of my very early childhood. Not only because of the art itself but the title really caught my eye The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters as the Art Book Goya explains " The imagination abandoned by reason produces impossible monsters..." I think that most of us as we grow older lose our imagination and replace it with logic and reason. Your no longer imaginative your creative. You don't play with your imaginary friends anymore, you don't pretend your a princess or a solider anymore, and you don't play with dolls or action figures anymore. We lose that innocence as we grow older we know the world isn't filled with rainbows and butterflies and around every corner there aren't sugary sweets waiting for you. We know the reality is that it's a cruel world out there and you have to make of it what you can. So maybe that's the meaning of the dark head you've now lost your innocence and your head is desolate because your imagination has left you. You know that there isn't a one eyed one horned flying purple people eater. The grass can't be pink and cows aren't purple. That's illogical, so now that you have that reasoning the real monsters come out. The ones that make you realize that the world isn't like a big fluffy cloud.


  1. I completely agree--we become logical and organized in order to survive, but in the process, we lose some of our passion and wonder--and the only time we can experience those things fully again is in dreams.

  2. I think you pretty much nailed the meaning of this picture. There is nothing else I can say about this that you haven't already said.

  3. This artwork is really interesting. It really makes you think about your life and what passions you have and what kind of things you have experienced and what kind of things you want to experience or take risk for but first you just dream about them things and then its up to you if you wanna do it. I also agree this piece of art represents a lot of darkness or evil. I just wonder why that is if your dreams are suppose to be good?

  4. I totally agree with everything you said, great analysis! I noticed that there are also owls in the paiting, but you didnt mention those. The owls are the closest to his head, as if they represent the knowledge that is on the surface of the conscienceness and the rest of the things you mentioned are on deeper levels. Very cool peice of art!

  5. To play-doh: Yeah it's like everything you wish you had in reality comes to you in your dreams and even sometimes things you don't want.

    To smithsonian: Thanks I tried really hard to figure it out it didn't just come to me the more I looked at the sketch the more I saw.

    To collins 17: I think that the reason it is in your dreams is more psychological than anything. While you wish someone sweet dreams sometimes there are nightmares and that's mostly from what you don't think about while awake what you avoid and it follows you into your dreams.

    To chicago: I noticed the owls but I didn't know what to make of them but I think what you said "the owls are the closest to his head, as if they represent the knowledge that is on the surface of the conscienceness" is a very good interpretation of that I never thought of it.