rating: +151+x
Item#: 5462
Containment Class:
Secondary Class:
Disruption Class:
Risk Class:


Saturn Devouring His Son, the most famous of Goya's Black Paintings.

Special Containment Procedures: SCP-5462-A has been placed in Site-21's Media Archive Wing. Foundation assets in art institutions and auction houses have been placed on alert for a Goya painting matching SCP-5462-B's effects.

Description: SCP-5462-A is the journal of Spanish painter Francisco Goya, detailing an anomalous event that resulted in the creation of 15 oil paintings painted between 1819 and 1822 commonly referred to as his Black Paintings due to their emotionally disturbing contents, themes, and use of dark colours.

The paintings were painted onto the walls of his villa in his country estate on the outskirts of Madrid, nicknamed the Quinta del Sordo (house of the deaf man)1. While all 14 paintings at the Prado Museum in Madrid have been confirmed as non-anomalous, the journal describes a 15th unconfirmed painting2, designated SCP-5462-B, that has been described as having significant anomalous properties.

The status of SCP-5462-B is unknown.

Addendum 5462.1: Truncated Biography of Francisco Goya

Francisco Goya (30 March 1746 – 16 April 1828) has been considered as one of the most popular Spanish painters of his time. Born to a lower-class family in Aragon, he was interested in art from an early age. Goya studied under Spanish Baroque painter Jose Luzan at the age of 14, copying stamps for 4 years. He would eventually grow tired of this, moving to Madrid to study under Anton Raphael Mengs, and then later to Rome, which was considered the cultural capital of the world at the time.


Francisco Goya, two years before his death in 1828. (by Vicente López Portaña)

His career only seemed to grow at this point, receiving awards, royal commissions, and an appointment to a position as a member of the Royal Academy of Fine Art. Goya's career appeared to reach new heights when he was commissioned to paint the portrait of the Count of Floridablanca in 1783, becoming introduced to the royal court. Only three years later, Goya would become a painter in service to King Charles III, later becoming the First Court Painter under Charles IV.

Somewhere between 1792 and 1793, Goya fell prey to an illness that left him deaf. He grew more withdrawn and insular, with his works shifting to a darker tone, such as his Caprichos prints, which he described as "the innumerable foibles and follies to be found in any civilized society, and from the common prejudices and deceitful practices which custom, ignorance, or self-interest have made usual." Goya complained of loud noises within his head, as well as poor vision and balance. Historians have speculated on the cause of the illness, with most suspecting a case of Ménière's disease, or lead poisoning resulting from a lifetime of creating his own paints.

The invasion of Spain by France in 1808, and the death of his wife in 1812, did little to alleviate his mood. Once one of the most famous painters of his time, Goya retreated to a life of solitude in the Madrid countryside (possibly due in part to fear of political reprisals), where he created his infamous Black Paintings.

In 2004, the Foundation came into the possession of Goya's journal, detailing a series of events that had occurred at Quinta del Sordo. The journal had been sold at a Marshall, Carter, and Dark auction as the recollection of Goya's "brush with the anomalous," initially appraised at 1,000,000 euros. Several high bids from unidentified members of the audience drew attention, leading the embedded Foundation plant to purchase the journal for 3,000,000 euros.

Addendum 5462.2: SCP-5462-A excerpts

I dreamed that I was young.

I was on the road to Rome. The sixty years between then and now faded away like a nightmare, and all that remained were sunny skies and laughs of joy. The road behind us and in front of us stretched on forever into an indistinct pathway of bliss.

And then I woke up. Woke in this decrepit, aging form, where my hearing has vanished and my vision blurs into an indistinct chaos beyond barely a league. If my younger self from a scant fifty years ago were to gaze upon me now, he would label me a corpse.

Even now, I am tired of writing, and the sun has barely sunk below the horizon. A new day shall arise tomorrow. Perhaps I will pick up my brushes again. I can find some small comfort in them, at least.

I write this latest entry in my bed, where I have been sequestered for a cold after a series of unfortunate events.

I attempted to paint again today. Leocadia3 thought it would restore my spirits to do so, helping me purchase some canvas and supplies, and setting a well-cushioned chair in the countryside.

I had the image of the hills and the rising sun clear in my mind. And yet every time I held my brush, every time I intended to change the ephemeral to a lasting image, it twisted out of my head and vanished, leaving me staring at a blank canvas like a simpleton. I attempted to paint the rising sun, and the noonday sun, and the setting sun over and over again, until I was sitting in darkness, attempting to paint the rising moon. I wasn't even aware that the rain had broke until Leocadia came running in a frenzy to hurry me inside.

I may not be able to paint until I return to full health, but at least I can still make a few sketches to pass the time. Hopefully this cold is over soon.

Damn this cold. It's not the first time I have fallen prey to it, nor even the first time since my deafness, but something about this instance of the malady is different. Just to stay awake long enough to write these words feels like a titanic struggle.

There is a particular queerness surrounding my mind. While I remain sitting in my bed in the light of the afternoon sun, my mind feels far away from the hands writing these words. I feel as if the walls of this little bedroom have crumbled to dust, and I stand on a vast plain. I have not been transported to some fanciful illusion, a method of loci, but I am only seeing what has always been there, the plains and the unnameable things lurking in its shadows that have been present for all of mankind's past, separated by only the thinnest of veils. Today the veil was lifted from my soul, and I can see farther than any man ever could.

There are more things in heaven and Earth, than are dreamt of in our philosophy, after all. But what of those places beyond them?

This is no ordinary illness, I fear. The strangest thoughts, the thoughts roaming those murky plains of beyond, that was their door. And now I see things that I should not.

I had the strangest dream last night, where I was standing on a cliffside. I looked up, and saw light. A foreign, alien light, the type that cleansed Sodom and Gomorrah and any impurity it saw fit to remove. I looked down, and saw void. An abyssal darkness from out of the lowest levels of this world, clawing its way higher and higher and consuming all it passed. I felt paralyzed to move, I knew I was witnessing something beyond my little world of art. What would reach me first, purifying light or all-consuming darkness? Both were a hands-breadth away from my refuge before I awoke.

I am not sure what meaning I should take away from it, if any, but I shall continue to record my experiences. There is little else to do while I remain tethered to my bed, beyond praying for this sickness to end swiftly.

It seems praying has not worked in ceasing this. Instead, my thoughts have been turned to a different direction. Last night I dreamt a city all of blood, with towers made of bone, where blood ran in the streets like water. Men and women danced through the streets, laughing and kissing and praying and playing all while the blood splattered their ignorant faces.
There are no children in Alagadda.

There were no children in this city. There were never children. Where were the children?

I returned to the city again, standing below a gateway. I had no desire to see those disgusting sights of those cavorting among the blood, and so I turned away, back to those strange and fantastical plains.

I could see things, impossible things stalking me, watching me, offering an outstretched hand while whispering of all the things that they could offer. But there was a stronger voice beckoning to me from beyond, and those impossible things fell by the wayside.

I saw a shining city on a hill, and I knew that it was Alagadda.






After this last entry, Goya ceased to write complete entries for approximately 3 weeks. The 27 pages following his last entry were marked with illegible writing, alchemical symbols, and quotes from Christopher Marlowe's The Hanged King's Tragedy.

It is good to be on my feet again, able to walk outside in the fresh Castile air, after this lengthy illness. A lesson learned, sitting outside in the pouring rain is not a mistake I will be making again, nor will Leocadia allow me to.

Now that my mind is clear of that dreadful fog, I have been able to turn it towards painting. We may not have much escudos4 left for canvas, but the walls served as a passable substitute. Leo seems to have enjoyed watching me paint the pastoral murals. There is a certain tranquility, a certain strength of spirit present in them, that portraits of kings and nobles lack with their distant and regal gazes. It's rather nourishing to create.

I should remember to write in this more often. It is rather odd that I left this blank for three weeks.5

Is this some sort of divine jest? Has God not been satisfied with my wife and my hearing and my work? I thought I would be able to hold onto my sight, or at least what precious little remains of it, but it seems He is determined to steal it away too.

I can see now that these putrid disgusting little peasants are nothing more than moldy globules of paint on a wall that's quickly crumbling away. How could Leocadia think to allow me to start such a foolish project? How could I allow myself?

I must start again. This may be the last work I ever achieve.

Nothing. What has happened to me? It is as if there is a hole in my head, and all my ideas, all the creativity that made me Director of the Royal Academy, the Court Painter to Charles the Fourth, has simply trickled down the side of my head and dissipated into nothing. I could not paint a shadow to save my life today.

Perhaps this is it. Perhaps my life is truly over, and there is nothing left for me to do but lay down and wait for God to take me.

My head is aching intensely. I need to rest.

I saw them. Every painting I ever created, every childhood mash of colours, every saint and king and noble and angel and fair lady that ever sprang from my mind. They were as clear as day before me.

They mocked me. Scorned me. I was Kronos, the decrepit, feeble, backwards relic. And they were the Olympians: deathless, terrible and beautiful. They had sprung from me, true, but they no longer had need of me, and resisted my pleadings.

But even Kronos's generation, and his parents, the Earth and Sky, came from somewhere else. Older, darker places, places which you dared not name for fear that they would hear you. And it rose up behind me, in all its terrible glory- I could not turn to face it, for I knew that it would annihilate me like Zeus to Semele, but I could sense its presence, and see the gods turn from mockery to fear. Now they begged me, to save them, to take them back and continue my great artwork.

They were erased. Annihilated, like stars torn from the heavens themselves. And up from the soil, back up my head to the hole in the side of it, something else came in to fill the void.

I can no longer tell if I am awake or dreaming.

It came today. All these months at Sordo, all this maddening solitary, the sheer decades I have spent watching my life erode into nothingness- it has come to this.

It has come to Alagadda.

It slipped out of my head and onto my own personal canvas. A perfect ideal of Alagadda, made manifest. It spoke to me of all the sweetest words I have ever known. I feel as if I have been reunited with a dear old friend who I have been missing for all of my life.

The painting has given me new life, and in return I have created dozens more. Leocadia has expressed some concerns about the manic energy that has infused me over these past few weeks, but I have paid her no mind. She has not seen the enlightenment.

The painting has extended me an invitation- from the hand of the Ambassador itself. I am welcome to step foot into Alagadda any time, but it requires a particular service of me first. It has directed me to go to France, to the residence of an artist by the name of Theodore Gericault.6 I need no other direction other than my presence, as we are both fortunate enough to share a patron in the Wearer of the Anguished Mask.

[A large number of pages have been torn out. The edges are encrusted over with a unidentifiable black substance.]

Four long years. Four years of planning, and tedious gatherings, and speeches and plotting.

The work is not yet completed, of course. But Theodore has assured me that he will ensure our little movement spreads to all corners of the globe. There is a certain spark in him, something that burns bright and warm like I imagined it did in me in my younger years. I have no doubt he will see it through.

Now, through my last great painting, I shall return home. To Alagadda.

For ages, I felt paralyzed, trapped in an aging body as my life slowly ended. But now, I can see that it has barely begun. We, the living, only think of our lives as what we can experience. What we touch, what we say, every action we take before our time in the ground arrives. But the lives of artists stretch beyond that, to every being and power and country shaped by our work. We live on through the minds of youths and kings and nobles, for as long as our name endures.

And through this work, I shall become immortal. I ask only one question to those who might find these words, and reflect upon the movement that Theodore and I have birthed: Are we magnificent yet?

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License