What was highlighted instead was the atmosphere that contributes to the gore and brutality of the execution. The main subject which was a civilian with his arms spread like the Christ in crucifixion was set against the backdrop of the rising mountain and heavy blackness of the night to highlight the terror of the persecution (Singer 42). He also emphasized fear in the painting by “trailing the line of unfortunate captives into the distance, suggesting that this action will by repeated throughout the night” (Harris). , Goya’s The Third of May painting was rendered with “broad and rough strokes of the brush [similar] to the mature work of the Great Spanish Baroque painter Diego Velasquez whom Goya so much admired1”.
I personally like the theme and social message of the painting because it is very relevant today. It is happening in Syria, Egypt and somewhere else albeit the parties are different but the nature of persecution remains. Francisco de Goya’s “First of May” may be the first strongest political artwork that depicted persecution.
Originally, Goya’s Third of May painting was borne out of the Spaniard’s social unrest when a French soldier was shot dead in Madrid on May 2, 1808 (A painting entitled Dos de Mayo Uprising preceded the Third of May painting where the citizens of Spain revolted) during the Napoleonic occupation. The blame was pointed to a Spanish sniper where the French soldiers retaliated with a swift, brutal and disproportionate response on the next day (hence the title Third of May). Napoleonic troops then retaliated by rounding up a large number of innocent peasants on the Third of May who were accused to part of the uprising. The soldiers had the peasants marched beyond the city walls and then had them shot of which Goya putatively had witnessed.
This background of the painting of disproportionate response of violence to social unrest corresponds