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Francisco Goya y Lucientes (Spanish, 1746-1828): The Disasters of War 34-43

Goya’s Caprichos etchings (1799) and Disasters of War (c. 1808-1814), Durer's Ship of Fools woodcuts (1494), David Deuchar’s etchings (1786) after Hans Holbein’s Dance of Death, John Martin’s Paradise Lost mezzotints (1823-25), Georges Rouault’s Miserere mixed-media intaglios (1922-1928), and Marc Chagall's Dead Souls (etching and drypoint, 1923-1927)

Caprichos 43, 1-5 / Caprichos 6-10 / Caprichos 11-17 / Caprichos18-24 / Caprichos 25-30 / Caprichos 31-36
Caprichos 37-42 / Caprichos 43-50 / Caprichos 51-59 / Caprichos 60-67 / Caprichos 68-75 / Caprichos 76-80

Disasters of War 1-11 / Disasters 12-22 / Disasters 23-33 / Disasters 34-43
Disasters 44-53 / Disasters 54-63 / Disasters 64-73 / Disasters 74-81

Proverbios and others
Robert Hughes, whose The Shock of the New introduced America to modern art when it was aired on public television and whose American Visions, a survey of American Art up to the from the Spanish invaders of the southwest and the Pilgrims in New England to Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art, tells us in the opening pages of his Goya (2003) that in the midst of the Vietnam War, which tore America apart for many years, "there was nothing, absolutely nothing, that came near the achievement of Goya's Desastres de la guerra (Disasters of War), those heart-rending prints in which the artist bore witness to the almost unspeakable facts of death in the Spanish uprising against Napoleon, and, in doing so became the first modern visual reporter on warfare" (p. 7). Otto Dix's Krieg, the twentieth-century's witness to the horror of war, almost pales (although it is horrible enough to look at in itself) before Goya's depiction of the early nineteenth century's horrors of war, both civil and uncivil, between atrocities perpetrated on Spaniards by Spaniards and atrocities perpetrated by the French upon the Spanish (and vice-versa). Hughes suggests (p. 273) that "very broadly, the images fall into three groups. Forty-six plates, 2 through 47, describe incidents of guerilla war, the Spanish pueblo against Napoleon's soldiers. Eighteen more, 48 through 65, are concerned with the effects of the great famine that devastated Madrid between 1811 and 1812—a famine that Goya, living in the city, experienced too, and whose effects he saw at first hand. And then there are the Caprichos enfáticos, or 'emphatic caprices'—a run of fifteen allegorical and satirical images rather than journalistic reportage, that attack what one might call the disasters of peace—evoking the shattered hopes of the Spanish liberals and illustrados in the wake of Napoleon's defeat after Fernando VII returned to the throne, abolished the 1512 Constitution, and set in train an iron policy of repression, censorship, inquisitorial tyranny, and royal absolutism."

Select Bibliography: Rogelio Buendia Goya (NY: Arch Cape Press, 1990), Jean-François Chabrun, Goya: His Life and Work (NY: Tudor, 1965), Colta Ives & Susan Alyson Stein Goya in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1995), Raymond Keaveney, Master European Paintings from the National Gallery of Ireland from Mantegna to Goya (Dublin: National Gallery Of Ireland, 1992), Fred Licht, Goya and the Origins of the Modern Temper in Art (NY: Harper & Row, 1983), Park West Gallery. Goya: Sleeping Giant (Southfield MI: Park West Gallery, n.d.), Alfonso E. Perez Sanchez, and Eleanor Sayre, Goya and the Spirit of the Enlightenment (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1989), Maurice Raynal, The Great Centuries of Painting: The Nineteenth Century. New Sources of Emotion from Goya to Gauguin (Geneva: Skira, 1951), Daniuel Catton RIch, ed. The Art of Goya: Paintings, Drawings, and Prints (Chicago: The Art Institute, 1941), Richard Schickel, The World of Goya 1746-1828 (NY: Time-Life Books, 1968), The Royal Academy of Arts in London, Goya and his times (London: Royal Academy, 1963), Janis A. Tomlinson, Goya in the Twilight of the Enlightenment (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992), Juliet Wilson-Bareau & Manuela B. Mena Marqués, Goya: Truth and Fantasy. The Small Paintings (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994).

Works on Prints: The standard catalogue raisonnés of Goya's prints by Loys Delteil and Tomás Harris are both out of print but should be available in major libraries and in museums; there is a reprint of the Harris published by Alan Wofsy in 1983 which we have used throughout. We follow Harris in our descriptions of the editions, for which see volume 2, pages 172-176, and the individual prints (pp. 177-304). Los Desastres de la Guerra was not published during Goya's lifetime because he would have been called before the Inquisition, from whence few returned. Harris briefly discusses the 472 trial proofs printed before Goya's death and then summarizes the quality of the various editions. Generally, the first edition published in 1863 for the Real (i.e., Royal) Academia in an edition of 500, is by far the best, though the first 300 or so are of much higher quality than the remaining pieces, where "the tone of the ink is darkened to compensate for the wear of the aquatint" (pp. 173-74). The second edition was published by the Real Academía (as were all later ones) in 1892 in an edition of 100; Harris says that the plates were probably steel-faced before the making of this edition (p. 174). The third edition was published in 1903 in an edition of 100, which Harris describes as "very inferior to the second). The fourth edition was published by the Real Academía in 1906 in an edition of 275. Harris describes it as "excellently printed on very suitable papers" and says that "the impressions are generally a little inferior to those of the second edition but are better than those of the third." The fifth edition, which Harris describes as "inferior to all previous ones" was published by the Real Academía om 1923 in an edition of 100. Harris attributes the problems to over-inking and the very hard quality of the paper. The sixth edition was made in 1930 the for the Real Academía; Harris describes it as "little inferior to the second edition and superior to the third. The seventh and last edition was made in 1937 the for the the Ministerio de Instrucción Publica in 1937, during the Spanish Civil War. Five sets were printed on Old Japan paper, of which three were dedicated to Stalin, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Republican President, Azana, leaving two sets unaccounted for. 15 sets on Imperial Japan paper were published in a parchment portfolio, and 130 sets on Arches paper were were also published. Harris says, "This edition is remarkably good and the impressions are the best taken from the plates after the second edition. We acquired a complete set of the fourth edition a number of years ago, and most of our impressions are from that edition. We have also had several impressions from the first edition (one of which is still available). We find it close in quality to the impression of the same piece from the fourth edition. We also have one impression from the third edition, which is seriously deficient when compared to the same work from the 4th edition. In 1988 were were fortunate to see an exhibition of all of Goya's prints in the Guttenberg Museum in Mainz (an outing for the faculty of the English Department at the University of Giessen, where I taught for the summer session. They displayed impressions of Los Desastres from the fourth edition. We were also lucky enough to see an exhibition of Los Desastres at the University of Iowa Art Museum several year later (I think; it might have been at Iowa State University). It was also composed of impressions from the fourth edition. These two exhibition, of course, made us feel quite pleased when we acquired our own complete set of Los Desastres in the fourth edition.

The most convenient reproduction of The Disasters of War is the edition published by Dover Books in 1967 with a very short introduction by Philip Hofer of the Department of Graphic Arts at the Harvard University Library. Also likely to be available inexpensively in used condition: Aldous Huxley, ed., The Complete Etchings of Goya (NY: Crown Publishers, 1943; Huxley incorporates Goya's own comments on the Caprichos from a manuscript now in the Prado in Madrid, many of which I have incorporated in my descriptions), ). See Nigel Glendinning, Goya: La Década de los Caprichos. Retratos 1792-1804 (Madrid: Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Francisco, 1992), Verna Posever Curtis and Selma Reuben Holo, La Tauromaquia: Goya, Picasso and the Bullfight (Milwaukee: Milwaukee Art Museum, 1986), Anthony H. Hull, Goya: Man Among Kings (NY: Hamilton Books, 1987), R. Stanley Johnson, Goya: Los Caprichos (Chicago: R.S. Johnson, 1992; Johnson usefully cites remarks of an early commentator on Goya's Caprichos from a manuscript preserved in the Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid, many of which I have incorporated in my descriptions), Elie Lambert, Goya: L'oeuvre grave (Paris: Alpina, n.d.), Roger Malbert, ed. Disasters of War: Callot, Goya, Dix (London: Cornerhouse Publications, 1998), Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez, & Julián Gállego, Goya: The Complete Etchings and Engravings (Munich: Prestel-Verlag, 1995), Nicholas Stogdon, Francisco de Goya, Los Caprichos: Twenty Proofs and a New Census (London: N.G. Stogdon, Inc, 1988), Janis A. Tomlinson, Graphic Evolutions: The Print Series of Francesco Goya (NY: Columbia University Press, 1989).
Por una navaja / On account of a knife (Disasters, plate 34, Harris 154, Delteil 153). Original etching, drypoint, burin, and burnisher, c. 1808-1814. After the first edition, the plates were probably steel-faced and consequently do not degrade as quickly as they otherwise might. Our impression is from the 4th edition (1906) published from Goya's original plates in the Royal Academy in San Fernando, Spain. A priest was found with a knife; his punishment is to sit at a post, tied to it by a rope around his neck. His crime, which we cannot read, is written on the placard around his neck. When he falls asleep, he will garotte himself. At least one women (almost immediately behind and slightly to the right of him) has both hands hiding her face; many of the people have turned away, some are walking away, perhaps some were just walking by. Life seeems fairly cheap and death not worth making much of a fuss about. So it goes. Image size: 155x205mm. Price: $2500.
No se puede saber por que / One can't tell why (Disasters, pl. 35, Harris 155, Delteil 154). Original etching, burnished lavis, drypoint, and burin, c. 1808-1814. After the first edition, the plates were probably steel-faced and consequently do not degrade as quickly as they otherwise might. Our impression is from the 4th edition (1906) published from Goya's original plates in the Royal Academy in San Fernando, Spain. A mixed group of priest and peasants sit clutching their crucifixes with placards describing their crimes around their necks. Will they be released when their time is up? Will they be shot? One can't tell that either. Image size: 155x205mm. Price: $2500.
Tampoco / Not [in this case] either (Disasters, pl. 36, Harris 156, Delteil 155). Original etching, burnished aquatint, drypoint, burin, and burnisher, c. 1808-1814. After the first edition, the plates were probably steel-faced and consequently do not degrade as quickly as they otherwise might. Our impression is from the 4th edition (1906) published from Goya's original plates in the Royal Academy in San Fernando, Spain. A French soldier with a smile on his face sits and watches dead man hanging in front of him. Behind this dead man several more can be seen hanging, like this one, from broken, fragments of trees. Why? Who knows; does it matter to the Frenchman? Should it matter more to us? Who can tell why some live and some are hung? Illustrated Licht, p. 149. Image size: 155x205mm. Price: $2500.
Esto es peor / This is worse (Disasters, pl. 37, Harris 157, Delteil 156). Original etching, lavis, and drypoint, c. 1808-1814. After the first edition, the plates were probably steel-faced and consequently do not degrade as quickly as they otherwise might. Our impression is from the 4th edition (1906) published from Goya's original plates in the Royal Academy in San Fernando, Spain. Hughes comments: "There were cases in which the French killed and mutilated Spanish partisans, and left their wretched remains exposed as a warning to villagers and passersby. However there were ample instances when the patriots did the same to the French, or to other Spaniards whom they believed without any trial at all, to be collaborators. Impartially and unblinkingly, Goya set both before his viewers. You realize, for instance, that the men hanging from the three trees by a roadside in plate 36, another one called Tampoco, have to be patriots because a French officer leaning on a stone with a sort of grisly detachment is contemplating them. In the same way, it is clear that the main figure in plate 37– impaled from anus to neck on the sharp branch of a dead tree, his right arm chopped off—cannot be other than a Spaniard, because the figures behind him, one brandishing a saber and the other dragging a second corpse into position for some (no doubt) equally disgusting mutilation, are also French" (Hughes, p. 294). Illustrated Licht, p. 149; Chabron, p. 180. Image size: 155x205mm. Price: $3000.
Barbaros / Barbarians ( pl. 38, Harris 158, Delteil 157). Original etching, burnished aquatint, burin, and burnisher, c. 1808-1814. After the first edition, the plates were probably steel-faced and consequently do not degrade as quickly as they otherwise might. Our impression is from the 4th edition (1906) published from Goya's original plates in the Royal Academy in San Fernando, Spain. Following the work of the firing squad, the machinery of the war moves on as the dead bodies are stripped and dumped unceremoniously into a yawning pit. Illustrated Licht, p. 150. Image size: 155x205mm. Price: $2500.
¡Grande hazaña! ¡Con muertos! / Great feat! With dead men! ( pl. 39, Harris 159, Delteil 158). Original etching, lavis, and drypoint, c. 1808-1814. Signed "Goya" in the lower left corner. After the first edition, the plates were probably steel-faced and consequently do not degrade as quickly as they otherwise might. Our impression is from the 4th edition (1906) published from Goya's original plates in the Royal Academy in San Fernando, Spain. But how is one to read an image like plate 39, This is a sickeningly effective play on the Neoclassical cult of the antique fragment. Bits and pieces of human bodies—a headless and armless trunk, two arms tied together, a bodiless head, and a castrated corpse—are hung on trees to terrify the passerby. They remind us that, if only they had been marble and the work of their destruction had been done by time rather than sabers, neoclassicists like Mengs would have been in esthetic raptures over them" (Hughes, p. 295). Illustrated in Hughes, p. 294; Licht, p. 150. Image size: 175x215mm. Price: $2500.
Algun partido saca / He gets something out of it (Disasters of War, plate 40, Harris 160, Delteil 159). Original etching, drypoint, and burin, c. 1808-1814. After the first edition, the plates were probably steel-faced and consequently do not degrade as quickly as they otherwise might. Our impression is from the 4th edition (1906) published from Goya's original plates in the Royal Academy in San Fernando, Spain. This is one of the more puzzling images in the Disasters of War: a man (at least the pronoun in the title says so) appears to be embracing or sucking from the neck of a giant dog—seemingly larger than the person embracing his neck. In Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Marc Antony offers a speech over Caesar's bleeding corpse that seeems oddly pertinent here: "Over thy wounds now do I prophesy– / Which like dumb mouths do ope their ruby lips / To beg the voice and utterance of my tongue– / A curse shall light upon the limbs of men; / Domestic fury and fierce civil strife / Shall cumber all the parts of Italy; / Blood and destruction shall be so in use, / And dreadful objects so familiar, / That mothers shall but smile when they behold / Their infants quartered with the hands of war, / All pity choked with custom of fell deeds; / And Caesar's spirit, ranging for revenge, / With Ate by his side come hot from hell, / Shall in these confines with a monarch's voice / Cry `havoc!" and let slip the dogs of war, / That this foul deed shall smell above the earth / With carrion men, groaning for burial" (II.1.262-78). Although Goya worked on a portrait of the Duke of Wellington during this period, I have not seen anything that suggests that he could read English or had ever heard Shakespeare recited in Spanish. Nonetheless, there is such a close correspondence between Goya's etchings and Shakespeare's verse that one could only hope that there is some kind of relationship between the Disasters and Shakespeare's play. Image size: 175x215mm. Price: $2500.
Escapan entre las llamas / They escape through the flames (Disasters of War, plate 41, Harris 161, Delteil 160). Original etching and burin, c. 1808-1814. Signed "Goya" in the lower left corner. After the first edition, the plates were probably steel-faced and consequently do not degrade as quickly as they otherwise might. Our impression is from the 4th edition (1906) published from Goya's original plates in the Royal Academy in San Fernando, Spain. A city explodes and everyone who can flees, on their own or int eh arms of their servants. Image size: 160x235mm. Price: $2500.
Todo va revuelto / Everything is topsy-turvy (Disasters of War, plate 42, Harris 162, Delteil 161). Original etching and burin, c. 1808-1814. According to Harris, the plate is in "good condition" throughout the first to seventh editions. In the foreground, the clergy are panicking; behind them, their flock sits dejectedly, not knowing what might happen next. After the first edition, the plates were probably steel-faced and consequently do not degrade as quickly as they otherwise might. Our impression is from the 4th edition (1906) published from Goya's original plates in the Royal Academy in San Fernando, Spain. Image size: 175x220mm. Price: $2500.
Tambien esto / So is this (Disasters of War, plate 43, Harris 163, Delteil 162). Original etching, burnished aquatint, and burnisher, c. 1808-1814. The clergy are running; their flock sits patiently and fearfully, perhaps waiting for be sheared. Harris notes that the "plate is in good condition" for the first edition and "fair" in the the 2nd to 7th editions. The aquatint almost wears out, but is just visible to the end." the first 7 editions, "the plate is in good condition. The burninshing marks in the sky hold enough ink to produce a slight tone in the first edition. The second and subsequent editions are clean wiped and there is no deterioration in the plate." After the first edition, the plates were probably steel-faced and consequently do not degrade as quickly as they otherwise might. Our impression is from the 4th edition (1906) published from Goya's original plates in the Royal Academy in San Fernando, Spain. Image size: 155x205mm. Price: $2500.

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