THE UNSOLVED MYSTERY OF GOYA'S MISSING SKULL

THE ENIGMA

Dionisio Fierros (1827-1894 ) was a Spanish Romantic painter who painted a "Vanitas", an allegorical still life, for the Marquis of San Adrián of Navarre in 1849.

It was not a very robust work of art, especially in an era of great romanticism and drama.

It was a traditional "vanitas" with a skull, which was the most common symbol of the transience of life, the futility of pleasure and the certainty of death. It was a human skull depicted in a three-quarter view, and it had no jaw. It rested on a green carpet. The skull had many dental defects. The colour used was a roasted yellow.

It would have been a rather boring 44 x 37 cm oil painting on canvas if there had not been three words written in sepia ink on the back of the wooden frame: "Skull of Goya".

Report by Karla Darocas. Hons. B.A.