Francisco Goya and the Second of May, 1808

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One of the most famous paintings by the Spanish master Francisco de Goya, The Second of May 1808, otherwise known as The Charge of the Mamelukes, was painted in the year 1814 and it is a companion to another painting by Goya, namely The Third of May 1808. Presently displayed in Madrid's Museo del Prado, both these paintings have great historical relevance as they deal with the charge of the Mamelukes and the execution of the defenders of Madrid, respectively.


As the crowd began to resist the attempts to disperse it, there resulted a fierce skirmish between the two sides which provided the theme of the portrait. Thus, the popular uprising in Madrid between the second and third of May 1808 provided the themes of two of the most important paintings by Goya. On the second of May 1808, the French soldiers caught isolated on the streets of Madrid were murdered by the outraged populace and Goya captured this violent engagement in his famous The Second of May 1808. "This event became the opening shot of the war of independence, celebrated ever after the Dos de Mayo. ...
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