The Disasters of War
is a series of 82 prints
created between 1810 and 1820 by Spanish master painter and printmaker Francisco Goya
. Although he did not make known his intention when creating the plates, art historians view them as a visual protest against the violence of the 1808 Dos de Mayo Uprising
, the subsequent Peninsular War
of 1808–14 and the setbacks to the liberal cause following the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy
in 1814. They were not published until 1863, 35 years after his death. With these works, he breaks from a number of painterly traditions. He rejects the bombastic heroics of most previous Spanish war art to show the effect of conflict on individuals. In addition he abandons colour in favour of a more direct truth he found in shadow and shade. The series was produced using a variety of intaglio printmaking
techniques, mainly etching
for the line work and aquatint
for the tonal areas, but also engraving
. The first 47 focus on incidents from the war and show the consequences of the conflict on individual soldiers and civilians. The middle series (plates 48 to 64) record the effects of the famine that hit Madrid in 1811–12, before the city was liberated from the French. The final 17 reflect the bitter disappointment of liberals when the restored Bourbon monarchy, encouraged by the Catholic hierarchy, rejected the Spanish Constitution of 1812
and opposed both state and religious reform.
Cr: Artist: Théodore Bray; Restoration: Lise Broer
A colored lithograph showing a funeral ceremony among slaves in Suriname in the mid-19th century. Attendees wear white as two men carry a wooden coffin. A small boy is blindfolded, which was a common practice during this time and place although the reason is unknown. Slavery was introduced with the English settlers in the 17th century and was not abolished until 200 years later.