Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Third of May, 1808 by Goya

Name: The Third of May, 1808
Artist's Name: Francisco Goya
Date: 1814
Period: Spanish Romanticism
Material: Oil on canvas

The tragic events of May 3rd, 1808, became the subject of one of Goya's most famous paintings. On May 2nd, Spanish soldiers attacked the invading Napoleonic troops in a chaotic and violent clash. The next day, French soldiers responded by executing numerous Spanish citizens. Goya's painting depicts the faceless French soldiers murdering terrified and unarmed Spanish peasants. Their expressions are horrified and anguished and one peasant about to be shot throws his arms out in a gesture referring to Christ's position on the cross. Goya's use of high contrast darks and lights add drama to this piece. Other peasants, their blood staining the soil, lay dead at the man's feet on one side and more waiting execution are at his other side.

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