Moreover, the inscription of Goya's name, with the same ink used on that number, ratifies this attribution, although it is clearly not his signature. Scholars such as Pierre Gassier and Hanna Hohl defended Goya's authorship, comparing the manner in which he drew the spectators observing the balloon's flight from the ground with the small, sketchily rendered human figures in other landscape drawings, such as Landscape with Buildings and Trees Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado, D in red chalk; The Pyramid in the collection of the Marquis of Casa Torres  in black pencil; and even the canvas of The Prairie of San Isidro Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado, P Nevertheless, careful observation of certain technical details calls for a reconsideration of the pertinence of those comparisons, as this drawing is characterized by a smooth, homogeneous use of the pencil, which does not occur in drawings that are known to be by Goya, both in pencil and in red chalk.
In those works, the addition of intense strokes and accents brings greater vibrancy to the compositions. From a thematic standpoint, Hohl considered this drawing yet another indication of Goya's interest in transcending reality, in this case with an event he must have witnessed. In this subtle reading, Hohl separates the globe, a symbol of the human desire for freedom, from the social strictures that ground man to the earth. Notwithstanding this rather forced interpretation, it is true that balloon flights became a thrilling spectacle that garnered considerable interest in society and among artists of the time, fostering an active market for prints that publicized the main flights and their protagonists.
As the series progressed, Goya evidently began to experience shortages of good quality paper and copper plates, and was forced to take what art historian Juliet Wilson-Bareau calls the "drastic step" of destroying two etched and aquatinted landscapes, likely from the first years of the century,  from which very few impressions had been printed. These were cut in half to produce four of The Disasters of War ' s prints.
Goya completed 56 plates during the war against France , and these are often viewed as eye-witness accounts. A final batch—including plate 1, several in the middle of the series, and the last 17 plates—are likely to have been produced after the end of the war, when materials were more abundant. The titles of some plates, written beneath each, indicate his presence: I saw this plate 44 and One can not look plate A number of other scenes are known to have been related to him second hand.
The titles of a number of scenes link pairs or larger groups, even if the scenes themselves are not related. Examples include plates 2 and 3 With or without reason and The same , 4 and 5 The women are courageous and And they are fierce , and 9 , 10 and 11 They do not want to , Nor these and Or these.
30 March 1746 - 16 April 1828
Other plates show scenes from the same story or incident, as in plates 46 and 47 This is bad and This is how it happened , in which a monk is murdered by French soldiers looting church treasures; a rare sympathetic image of the clergy, who are generally shown to be on the side of oppression and injustice. The original titles or captions were etched onto the plates, even with Goya's spelling mistakes. One title was changed, [a 8] one plate had work added, and the printing was carried out with much more ink on the plates producing "surface tone" than in the proofs, in accordance with mid-century taste.
The Disasters of War was not published during Goya's lifetime, possibly because he feared political repercussions from Fernando VII's repressive regime. Most, however, believe the artist preferred to wait until they could be made public without censorship. As with his other series, later impressions show wear to the aquatint.
Goya at The Courthauld Gallery | frost
The edition had impressions, and editions followed in before which the plates were probably steel-faced to prevent further wear, , , and Many sets have been broken up, and most print room collections will have at least some of the set. Examples, especially from later editions, are available on the art market. In , Spanish novelist Antonio de Trueba published the purported reminiscences of Goya's gardener, Isidro, on the genesis of the series. Reflecting on The Disasters of War , biographer Margherita Abbruzzese notes that Goya asks that the truth "be seen and And the blind in spirit stay their eyes on the outward aspect of things, then these outward aspects must be twisted and deformed until they cry out what they are trying to say.
This tradition is reflected especially in Dutch depictions of the Eighty Years' War with Spain, and in the work of 16th-century German artists like Hans Baldung. The dead man in plate 37, Esto es peor This is worse , forms a mutilated body of a Spanish fighter spiked on a tree, surrounded by the corpses of French soldiers.
It is based in part on the Hellenistic fragment of a male nude, the Belvedere Torso by the Athenian "Apollonios son of Nestor". Goya had earlier made a black wash drawing study of the statue during a visit to Rome. Goya abandons colour in the series, believing that light, shade and shadow provide for a more direct expression of the truth.
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He wrote, "In art there is no need for colour. Give me a crayon and I will 'paint' your portrait. This 'graphic' kind of clarity can be most sharp when it is most jagged. He was not the first to work in this manner; Rembrandt had sought a similar directness, but did not have access to aquatint.
William Blake and Henry Fuseli , contemporaries of Goya's, produced works with similarly fantastical content, but, as Hollander describes, they muted its disturbing impact with "exquisitely applied linearity In his book on Goya's etchings, English author Aldous Huxley observed that the images depict a recurrent series of pictorial themes: darkened archways "more sinister than those even of Piranesi 's Prisons "; street corners as settings for the cruelty of the disparities of class; and silhouetted hilltops carrying the dead, sometimes featuring a single tree serving as gallows or repository for dismembered corpses.
All he shows us is war's disasters and squalors, without any of the glory or even picturesqueness. The Disasters of War is the second of Goya's four major print series, which constitute almost all of his most important work in the medium. He also created 35 prints early in his career—many of which are reproductions of his portraits and other works—and about 16 lithographs while living in France. In the last group, the Caprichos sense of the fantastic returns. Between and , Goya produced the Tauromachia , a series of 33 bullfighting scenes, during a break from The Disasters of War.
Tauromachia was not politically sensitive, and was published at the end of in an edition of —for sale individually or in sets—without incident.
It did not meet with critical or commercial success. All these were left in Madrid—apparently incomplete and with only a handful of proofs printed—when Goya went to France in One plate is known to have been etched in , but little else is established about the chronology of the works, or Goya's plans for the set. Goya worked on The Disasters of War during a period when he was producing images more for his own satisfaction than for any contemporary audience. Many of the later plates contain fantastical motifs which can be seen as a return to the imagery of the Caprichos.
In this, he is relying on visual clues derived from his inner life, rather than anything that could be recognised from real events or settings.
In The Disasters of War , Goya does not excuse any purpose to the random slaughter—the plates are devoid of the consolation of divine order or the dispensation of human justice. In addition, Goya refuses to offer the stability of traditional narrative. Instead, his composition tends to highlight the most disturbing aspects of each work. The plates are set spaces without fixed boundaries; the mayhem extends outside the frames of the picture plane in all directions.
Hughes believed Goya's decision to render the images through etchings, which by definition are absent of colour, indicates feelings of utter hopelessness. His message late in life is contrary to the humanistic view of man as essentially good but easily corrupted. He seems to be saying that violence is innate in man, "forged in the substance of what, since Freud , we have called the id.
- Book Sources: Francisco Goya.
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The Disasters of War plates are preoccupied with wasted bodies, undifferentiated body parts, castration and female abjection. There are dark erotic undertones to a number of the works. To Hughes, the woman's euphoria suggests, among other possible meanings, orgasm. Despite being one of the most significant anti-war works of art, The Disasters of War had no impact on the European consciousness for two generations, as it was not seen outside a small circle in Spain until it was published by Madrid's Royal Academy of San Fernando in Since then, interpretations in successive eras have reflected the sensibilities of the time.
Con muertos! A heroic feat! With dead men! The works were widely acclaimed and purchased that year by the Tate gallery. In , the Chapman brothers exhibited an altered version of The Disasters of War. They purchased a complete set of prints,  [a 14] over which they drew and pasted demonic clown and puppy heads. Bush purporting to bring democracy to Iraq. Plate 5: Y son fieras And they are fierce or And they fight like wild beasts.
Civilians, including women, fight against soldiers with spears and rocks. Plate Esto es malo This is bad.
Francisco de Goya
A monk is killed by French soldiers looting church treasures. A rare sympathetic image of clergy generally shown on the side of oppression and injustice. The last print in the first group. Murdered monks lay by French soldiers looting church treasures. Plate Carretadas al cementerio Cartloads for the cemetery. The last print in the famine group. What is this hubbub?