The True Meaning Behind Third of May 1808
The Third of May 1808 is a painting by a Spanish artist and literature Francisco Goya. The painting depicts executions of the Spanish resistance by the French soldiers during the Peninsular War. This painting was done at the time when Francisco Goya was affected by his illness and the lost of his dearest wife Josefa Bayeu Goya (Hartigan 51) However, the Peninsular war that destroyed his homeland has truly impacted him on how he view the world he once knew (Hartigan 51). To truly understand Goya painting, the viewers had to look at what is going on behind the war, and at Francisco Goya himself. In this artifact, Goya uses dramatic gruesome situations to emphasize and express his point of view towards good and evil among men. He also developed the use of low lighting techniques to display the emotion, faith, and visual bravery while facing certain death.
In 1807, Napoleon Bonaparte wanted to conquer the world; he tricked the king of Spain, Charles IV to fight alongside him to conquer Portugal. Apparently, Napoleon’s intention was to overthrow Charles IV and takes control of Spain while moving west to conquer the rest of Europe, this is the spark to the Penninsular War (Voorhies). Napoleon’s overthrown Charles IV and appointed his brother as king of Spain soon after. Many Spanish citizens were outraged about the corruptions of their country, some of them rose up in opposition to Napoleon’s but his army executed them all, this gruesome revolution inspired Francisco Goya to paint the Third of May 1808 to pay tributes to his country (Voorhies).
The Third of May 1808 by Francisco Goya, illustrates the event that took place in Madrid. This picture was painted to demonstrate bravery, courage, and religious beliefs of the citizens as they opposed to the tyranny, and the response to an atrocity of the war. (Gartigan 51) Goya’s only focused on the expression of each individual character’s face, while the dull faceless soldier back is turned toward the viewer. The helpless individuals seemed to be developing fear and sadness in their faces as they stare death in the eye (Connell). Goya’s intention toward this picture is to help the viewers developed an image and conclusion in their head of the gruesome violence of the war, and show sympathy for the brave men and woman who die for their freedom, and not to criticize the French soldiers as they are being order to execute the innocents (Connell). Mary Connell said, “Faceless and mechanical forces of war itself, blindly killing a representative of humanity” Francisco uses this dramatic drawing to symbolize the horrible conclusion of war and neither side is to blame but to show how fighting always produces evil within ourselves (Connell).
The atmospheres of this painting are very dramatic, breathtaking and shocking. From the brilliant lighting on the huddled citizens, to the sadness on their face and the pool of blood on the ground (Hartigan 51) Goya uses specular color to show the central figure of the Spanish man with the white shirt, yellow pant. This could represent Christianity during that period of time; his stance is strong and similar to Christ on the Cross. (Libby). It’s seems like he is staring pass the barrel of the rifles and into the eyes of his enemy and telling them that he is not afraid to die for a greater cause. While others Spanish men grouped together covering their eyes and hope for a quick death, instead of focused on the brave man about to be killed (Libby) His outstretched arms could represent peace and tranquility, but the soldiers hearts is already tainted with evil which they can care less for what he is doing. Among the captives, lay a dead corpse with his arm also outstretched and his shirt is drenched in blood also asking for peace even in death (Libby). His corpse was tossed aside to make room for others as they line up in a single file. Catholic monks from the...
Cited: Connell, Mary. “The Atrocities of War.” E-Vision Journal of First-Year Writing. Kevin Jefferson, 13 Sept. 2013. Web. 10 Oct.
“ Francisco Jose De Goya Y Lucien tes.” Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th Edition (2013) 1. Academic Search Complete Web. 9 Oct. 2014.
Huguenaud, Karine. “The Colossus.” Napoleon.org. The Foundation Napoleon, Feb. 2002.Web. 11 Oct. 2014.
Hartigan, Philip. "War Crimes." Meditation. Philip Hartigan, 27 July 2006. Web. 12 Oct. 2014.
Lessing, Erich. “Conflict and Resistance.” Art Through Time: A Global View. Courtesy of Art, 2014. Web. 12 Oct. 2014.
N, Libby. “Art and War.” Art and War. World Politics, 17 Dec. 2007. Web. 10 Oct. 2014
Voorhies, James. “Francisco De Goya (1746-1828) and the Spanish Enlightenment. “Francisco De Goya (1746-1828) and the Spanish Enlightenment. Heibrunn Timeline of Art History 05 Jan. 2000. Web. 07 Oct. 2014.
Zappella, Christine. “Goya’s Third of May, 1808.” Smart history. Khan Academy, 2010. Web. 13 Oct. 2014
Please join StudyMode to read the full document