Francisco de Goya y Lucientes
Pinturas Negras /Black Paintings
The figure on the right, with her back to the viewer, holds scissors in her hand, leading Brugada to give this painting, with its strange scene, the name of Atropos: one of the Fates, who cut the thread of life. Indeed, the thread is held by the woman on the left, identified as Clotho, who uses it to bind a small human figure wrapped in cloth or paper. In the background, with a magnifying glass or a mirror, is Lachesis, the third of the classical divinities that controlled the lives and destinies of humankind. The figure in the foreground doesn't fit the classical myth of the Fates. The work has allegorical underpinnings and meanings that are more difficult to fathom, corresponding to the complex compositional world of Goya's imagination.
Source: Museo Nacional del Prado, On-line gallery
The painting is a reinterpretation of the mythological subject of the goddesses of destiny—the Moirai or fates as recounted in Homer, Hesiod, Virgil and other classical writers. These "Daughters of Night" were headed by Atropos, the inexorable goddess of death, who carries a few scissors to cut the thread of life; Clotho, with her distaff (which Goya replaces with a doll or newborn child, possibly an allegory of life), and Lachesis, the spinning one, which in this representation looks across a lens or in a mirror and symbolizes time, since she was the one who measured the length of the fiber. To the three female figures suspended in the air a fourth figure is added in the foreground. Possibly male, this figure's hands are bound behind him as if is captive. If this interpretation is true, the fates would be deciding the destiny of the man whose bound hands cannot be opposed to his fate. It has been speculated that he may represent Prometheus, who was bound on a mountain and left to be savaged by an eagle as punishment for stealing fire from Mount Olympus. All four are hideously ugly.
Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Walking with Goya,