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Francisco Goya and the Second of May, 1808 - Essay Example

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Francisco Goya and the Second of May, 1808

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. Goya worked for topographical accuracy to stress the connection between the historic occasion and the geographical and symbolic center of the city Goya makes the spectator feel like an eyewitness to the brutal killing, emphasizing the unplanned, spontaneous character of the uprising to set the stage for the picture of the systematic representation that follows in The Third of May 1808." (Boime, 296) Therefore, The Second of May 1808 has a great significance as it portrays an important historical event in an effective way and an in-depth analysis of the piece including color, line, shape, space, balance, symmetry, proportion, light, depth, texture, focal point, scale, rhythm, iconography, subject matter, patron, intended setting, etc suggests how this work of art fits into the career of the artist as well as the historical facts.
Francisco de Goya's (1746-1828) The Second of May 1808 has been regarded as a major work of art dealing with the uprisings of the 1808 in Madrid and it provides a clear picture of the whole incidents that took place on this historically important day. Significantly, this work of art which has a historical relevance fits into the career of Francisco de Goya who always stressed the realistic at the cost of the idealistic or classic elements in painting. Thus, the oil on canvas, 266 x 345 cm, The Second of May 1808, at the Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain has been comprehended as one of the most fundamental contributions by the painter to the world of art. In fact, Goya's painting provides an important version of the historical event and the work fits to the career of the painter. "Goya's painting emphasizes the anonymity of the condemned, and even the capriciousness of their selection. He depicts them in terror and disarray, confusion and despondency, constructing an image of ordinary people dying without heroism and without knowing why they have been signaled out for obliteration. Yet, Goya's un-idealized and un-heroic 'heroes' are novel characterizations in the history of art and have meaning only in relationship to the particular conditions of the Napoleonic years." (Boime, 297-8) Therefore, the painting by Goya has a great relevance in depicting a historical event in a very convincing way and it fits rightly into the career of the painter.
Francisco de Goya's oil painting The Second of May 1808, oil on canvas, 266 x 345 cm, has been accredited as an important version of a historical event and the artist finds new means of expression in the production of this picture. The work makes use of the technique of oil on canvas and an in-depth analysis of the piece confirms that it is effectively created by the painter to ...Show more


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…
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Francisco Goya and the Second of May, 1808 essay example
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