The Sleep of Reason

By Carl Zimmer | December 11, 2008 7:17 am

sleep of reason

John, a graduate student in neurobiology at Cornell, writes, “Anyway, here’s my “science tattoo” and a bit of back story. It’s not directly science, but more like philosophy of science. It’s a piece by Francisco Goya, El Sueno de la Razon Produce Monstros. It means “The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters”, and it is part of his series of lithographs in the book Los Caprichos, which was highly critical of the Spanish Aristocracy of the time (1799). I first saw this image when I was in AP Art History in Highschool, about 9 years ago. Within seconds of seeing it, I thought to myself that this would be my first tattoo– and finally, it is! I had never seen an original print, though, even having  been to the Prado museum in Madrid. However, I happened to google it differently back in March and found that there was a print here at Cornell in the Johnson museum! I finally got to see it, and the staff there had me come back to get a picture of the tattoo next to the original, which they published in their seasonal magazine.”

Carl: Here is the original print, from Cornell’s Herbert Johnson museum’s web site.

Click here to go to the full Science Tattoo Emporium.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Science Tattoo Emporium
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The Loom

A blog about life, past and future. Written by DISCOVER contributing editor and columnist Carl Zimmer.

About Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The LoomHe is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.

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