Francisco de Goya

goya 3 de mayo en Madrid1814

Fundamental Paintings to Understand the History of Painting

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Third of May in Madrid (1814). Francisco de Goya
Oil on canvas. 266 cm x 375 cm
Prado Museum. Madrid, Spain


Goya is one of the most important precursors of modernity. His concept of the need of a plastic language expressing much more than an ideal of beauty, is a century ahead.

In his times, the world was tragically disrupted with a lot of political and social confrontation. Blood. A world of atrocities. And Goya used painting to express his anguish, sadness, desperation and inability to understand brutality.

His plastic art reached the highest point with the Black Paintings, a series of 14 works that he painted on the walls of the house where he locked himself, anguished and without friends. The forms are deformed and with blurry borders.
He is a precursor of the “emotive distortion.”

The chosen painting is one of the most representative ones of his works (and we may also say that it was like The Scream, by Munch for Expressionism). It was created a couple of years before the Black Paintings and it is about the horrible execution of patriots by the French troops.

The image does not only tell us a story, but hits us brutally. And in that brutal beauty it provokes us angst, horror, sorry for the cruelty of the human being.


Recommended links:


Fundamental Paintings to Understand the History of Painting: The Raft of the Medusa, Géricault.

Fundamental Paintings to Understand the History of Painting: La Liberté guidant le peuple, Eugène Delacroix.

Turner Seascapes and Romanticism.

Six Paintings: The Last Paintings of Monet, a Touch of Expressionism?

When does Modern Art Start?

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