The Private Life Of A Masterpiece – Goya’s Third of May 1808 (3/4) Reply

Goyas universal victimThis third part of this series opens with the man in white, the victim and ultimate victor of Goya’s Third of May  painting. According to narrator, Samuel West, he is portrayed as super human. Even kneeling he’s larger than his executioners. West highlights the difference between Goya’s rendition of war and those of his contemporaries, whose paintings are tightly packed with figures, color, heroism and glory. Goya gains impact and realism by using few figures surrounded by the desolation of space. “The sky is not sky; it’s blackness,” comments West.



The Private Life Of A Masterpiece – Goya’s Third of May 1808 2/4 Reply


The facts behind Goya’s Third of May painting are incontrovertible. On May 2, 1808 French troops rounded up and detained in barracks all the Spaniards they found in Madrid carrying weapons. In the middle of that same night, at 4:00 a.m., they were taken in groups of 14 or 15 to a clearing at the edge of the city and executed by a firing squad.


Francisco Goya – The First Modern Artist? – 3/3 2

by Bart Sedgebear

A Four-Part Series

Goya self2The Disasters of War series is traditionally divided into four parts: one introductory print, forty six portraying the horrors of war, seventeen with scenes of hunger in Madrid (though the city is not clearly alluded to in the images), and sixteen prints at the end of the series called Los caprichos enfáticos, “The Emphatic Follies.”

Goya’s introductory print to this series succinctly sums up what is to follow, both in his series of etchings and in world history. It depicts an imploring kneeling figure of a defenseless man who finds himself caught in the crossroads of the paths of glory trampled by psychotic politicians, generals and businessmen. More…

Francisco Goya – The First Modern Artist? – 2/3 2

Goya modo volarby Bart Sedgebear

.First Prints: Los Caprichos

Goya began making prints in 1792 after his illness and the onset of total deafness, and it is in this medium that his art–and Spanish visual culture– reached its highest expression. His  first series of etchings, Los Caprichos (“The Follies”), dates from early 1789.  It consists of 80 plates in which the artist, working with complete freedom, expresses, in his own words, “the censure of human errors and vices.”  The series was offered for sale in the Gaceta de Madrid newspaper but, after the Santa Inquisición “inquired” into this scandalous new form of expression, Los Caprichos were quickly and quietly withdrawn from the marketplace. More…