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Francisco Goya

Self-Portrait with Dr. Arriega


Appreciate the efforts made

In 1819, the Spanish painter Francisco Goya, then aged 73, fell seriously ill. Fever, delirium, partial paralysis: although the diagnosis is not known to us precisely, the symptoms are violent enough for the old man, considered the greatest Spanish master of his century,  believes his time has come. Yet he will recover from  this test and  will live another eight years.

This unexpected cure, Goya should, according to him, to his doctor, Doctor Eugenio  Arrieta, come to administer care and remedies. To thank him, the painter could have painted his portrait: the prestige

enjoyed by Goya would have made this work a mark of recognition of very high value. Instead, he chose to stage himself, bedridden and delirious, supported by the doctor who valiantly intervenes between the patient and the nightmarish visions that haunt him,  in the  background darkness. And to remove any ambiguity about the identity of his benefactor, the artist wrote in full, at the bottom of the painting: "Gracious Goya, to his friend Arrieta  : for the accuracy and application with which he saved his life in his intense and dangerous illness (...)" A way of recognizing, in addition to the doctor's talent, his total involvement with his patient.

What we can take away:

To thank or congratulate someone, we naturally tend to see a result, speaking of quality, efficiency or meeting deadlines. But what we should emphasize more is the effort to get there. Because to openly take note  of the energy invested by others in a task is to recognize much more than their competence: both their merit and  his motivation.

Related topic: Cooperation
Related topic: Communication
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