Tuesday, May 2, 2017

May 2 and 3rd, 1808, Popular uprising against the French in Spain

May 02, 1808. Francisco de Goya witnessed first hand the French occupation of Spain in 1808, when Napoleon used the pretext of reinforcing his army in Portugal to seize the Spanish throne, leaving his brother Joseph in power. Attempts to remove members of the Spanish royal family from Madrid provoked a widespread rebellion. This popular uprising occurred between the second and third of May 1808, when suppressed by forces under Maréchal Joachim Murat. In this image: The Second of May 1808, also known as The Charge of the Mamelukes, a painting by the Spanish master Francisco de Goya.

The 2nd and 3rd of May, 1808

On May 2, 1808, hundreds of Spaniards rebelled. On May 3, these Spanish freedom fighters were rounded up and massacred by the French. Their blood literally ran through the streets of Madrid. Even though Goya had shown French sympathies in the past, the slaughter of his countrymen and the horrors of war made a profound impression on the artist. He commemorated both days of this gruesome uprising in paintings. Although Goya’s Second of May(above) is a tour de force of twisting bodies and charging horses reminiscent of Leonardo’s Battle of Anghiari, his The Third of May, 1808 in Madrid is acclaimed as one of the great paintings of all time, and has even been called the world’s first modern painting.

What could have been: Smithsonian

1 comment:

Carla Ives said...

I have oftentimes nob een a fan of Goya from some of the work I've seen. However, that being said, these images are new to me and quite powerful. Thanks for featuring him with these wonderful, historical paintings.