Friday, December 10, 2010

Third of May, Goya

Goya's representation of the French execution of Spanish citizens in Madrid after the Spaniards rose up against the invading French forces who had manipulated Spanish loyalties to try to capture territory for themselves. Goya himself was once a proponent of the French struggle for change and revolution, but after their actions against his country, that opinion shifted and his painting reflects that sadness and disappointment as he abandons his former point of view. 

The man clad in yellow and white in the center is a stirring figure. One of the disorderly crowd, he reflects the light and color of the lantern and spreads his arms in either a proclamation of appeal or defiance. Personally, his face seems to me to call for appeal and a return to reason and civility. The haphazard arrangement of the Spanish citizens contrasts the domineering straight line of the French firing squad, conveying their panic and the lack of French mercy. Increasing this opinion of French cruelty is the space in which Goya places the event--on the outskirts of town in an extremely narrow space. The firing squad appears remarkably close to its victims, almost unnecessarily so. It only serves to encourage the thoughts about how unnecessary and wrong the entire situation was. 

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