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Francisco Goya y Lucientes (Spanish, 1746-1828): The Disasters of War 54-63

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 Thomas Harris are both out of print but should be available in major libraries and in museums. The most convenient edition 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 in used condition: Aldous Huxley, ed. The Complete Etchings of Goya (NY: Crown, Publishers, 1943). 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), 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), R. Stanley Johnson, Goya: Los Caprichos (Chicago: R. S. Johnson, 1992; Johnson usefully cites remarks of an early commentator on Goya 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).
Clamores en vano / Appeals are in vain (Disasters, plate 54, Harris 174, Delteil 173). Original etching, lavis, burin and burnisher, c. 1808-1814. Harris notes that the "plate is in good condition" for the first edition and "fair" in the the 2nd to 7th editions: "Lavis wears out almost entirely but the deeply bitten edges of the wash and the streaks in the sky are visible to the end. Etchings prints well except where it was burnished" 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. Once again, we see a famine scene with its fatal consequences: Behind the constable, one can barely make out the extremely emaciated form of a man, whose body stretches out diagonally from the extremely gaunt and emaciated legs crossing those of the man in the remains of a white shirt, but if we follow the legs toward the center we see first the naked buttocks and then, twisting back towards the center, the gaunt and emaciated body collapsed on the stone wall upon which the constable sits: if this person is not already dead, he or she will be soon. Next to him, a black-robed woman holds what seems to be the corpse of a small child. On the left, we see a body so emaciated that gender has become irrelevant. We may remember seeing bodies like these in the photographs of the Nazi concentration camps after they were liberated in 1945. Just behind the woman, perhaps reaching out to help her, we can see another uniformed person; behind him, a woman with her face hidden by the folds of her robe, perhaps to try to block out the stench of death. Image size: 155x205mm. Price: $2500.
Lo peor es pedir / The worst is to beg (Disasters, pl. 55, Harris 175, Delteil 174). Original etching, lavis, and drypoint, c. 1808-1814. Harris notes that the "plate is in good condition" for the first edition and "fair" in the the 2nd to 7th editions: After the first edition "Lavis disappears, leaving only a faint trace of tone at the edges. . . . Etching prints fairly well throughout." There is pitting in the sky, especially at left. 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. Signed "Goya" lower left. The focus of the plate is the gaunt man at the center of the image: his hat is tattered, his arms and legs are little more than skin and bones. To the right of him, a woman, whose head is appears at first sight to be a death's head, is supporting a child sitting in her lap, his bare legs not quite so gaunt is the man next to him, his face unreadable, his hands outstretched as if pleading for help. To the right, a man, whose toes protrude from his shoes, who looks far better than those with him, except that he shows no signs of life. Walking from right to left, a fully clothed woman averts her eyes so that she doesn't have to see the starving people she is passing. Between her and the gaunt man at center, we can see the head of an alert and happy person; on the far left, we see a soldier—perhaps an officer, his arms behind his body—watching her pass. There seems no connection between the dead or starving and the well-dressed and seemingly well-fed to whom they seem no longer to exist. Image size: 155x205mm. Price: $2500.
Al cementario / To the cemetery (Disasters, pl. 56, Harris 176, Delteil 175). Original etching, lavis, and drypoint, c. 1808-1814. Harris notes that in the 1st to 7th editions, the plate is in good condition; he also notes that as the lavis disappears entirely by the fourth edition, but that the "etching prints very well throughout except where it as over-bitten in the most closely worked areas, e.g. the hair of the three main figures. A diagonal scratch through the third stone from the top on the right, which prints strongly in the earliest impressions, has almost disappeared by the second edition." 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. Goya here offers us another scene of the effects of the famine: two people carry a corpse off, presumably to a cemetery. Several others, including a mother and her child will soon be ready for their own journey. Image size: 155x205mm. Price: $2500.
Sanos y enfermos / The healthy and the sick (Disasters, pl. 57, Harris 177, Delteil 176). Original etching, burnished aquatint, burin, and burnisher, c. 1808-1814. Harris notes that the "plate is in good condition" for the first edition and "in poor condition" thereafter: the aquatint weakens considerably and the lighter tone almost wears out. . . . Etching deteriorates in the most closely worked areas on the old woman. Burin strokes stand out on the old woman." 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. The old woman, cloaked and hooded at center resembles Death as portrayed in Bergman's The Seventh Seal. She stands supporting a child wrapped in rags who clearly is approaching his end. To the left, two more boys wait patiently for their turn, To the right of the old woman, a man, looking almost sepulchral already waits his turn. Immediately to the left of the old woman, a mother tenderly holds her young child, who is almost back into a fetal position. In the background at right, two more cloaked figures–one in white, the other in black, walk by in the sunlight. Image size: 155x205mm. Price: $2500.
No hay que dar voces / It's no use crying out ( pl. 58, Harris 178, Delteil 177). Original etching, burnished aquatint, burin, and burnisher, c. 1808-1814. Harris notes that "a very defective and pitted plate was used." he also notes that "a weak lavis appears to have been applied over the whole plate with the exception of the figures and then reinforced with a much stronger tone on the upper part of the sky and the foreground. Our impression presents the figures (dead and alive) very strongly; the sky, however, is split into two areas: very dark at top, much weaker below, and with an irregular division between them. The woman holding the child is not in the drawing for the engraving and appears to have been added in the course of the work."Harris describes the plate in the first edition as "good to fair" but Harris notes that in the 2nd to 7th editions, the plate [is] in poor condition: the aquatint wears out almost entirely and that the etching prints very weakly at the back of the man's head and the woman's skirt." Our impression is from the 4th edition (1906) published from Goya's original plates in the Royal Academy in San Fernando, Spain. Another famine scene: the central figure is an officer; behind him, on a diagonal going off to the upper right, several more stand waiting. In front of the central officer, a man, too weak to stand, stretches out his open hand, hoping for food; at right, a much better dressed man leans against a pillar, his hat outstretched hopefully; at far left, yet another wife holds her apparently dead husband's hand, mourning for him like the Virgin lamenting the death of her crucified son. A powerful print whose impact is more powerful than Harris's description of the plate would seem to allow. Image size: 155x205mm. Price: $2500.
De qué sirve una taza? / What good is a single cup? ( pl. 59, Harris 179, Delteil 178). Original etching, burnished aquatint, and lavis, c. 1808-1814. Again. Harris describes the first edition as "good" and notes that in the 2nd to 7th editions, the plate is in fair condition: the aquatint grain softens; some burnishing marks on the highlights disappear, but they lose little of their contrast; etching deteriorates slightly in the closely worked figure to the back ad left of the group, but otherwise prints well throughout. 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. Famine still stalks the land. The charitable woman, whom we see from the side, holds a bowl out to an older woman surrounded by her dead. On our impression, the etched work is still strong and sharp on the clothes of the woman offering a bowl of food to the woman in black surrounded by her dead children. The grief and loss is aptly matched to the grainy presentation of the heavens and the earth. Death appears to be winning this round in the battle with life, but there may still be some marginal amount of hope at least for the woman offering the bowl if not for the one receiving it. Image size: 155x205mm. Price: $2500.
No hat quien los socorra / There is no one to help them (Disasters of War, plate 60, Harris 180, Delteil 179). 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. Harris notes that in the 2nd to 7th editions, the plate is in fair to poor condition, though, once again, ours seems better than fair: strong contrasts, sharp lines, and a full range of tones from pure black to pure white. As Harris observes, "The highlights retain most of their contrast since the burnishing marks disappear and they print with less tone." The etching and burin marks are quite sharp. Our impression is from the 4th edition (1906) published from Goya's original plates in the Royal Academy in San Fernando, Spain.

This image is one that might make us recall Fortinbras's words upon entering the palace and seeing all of the corpses lying about: "O proud death, /  What feast is toward in thine eternal cell / That thou so many princes at a shot / So bloodily hast struck!" (Hamlet, 5.2.317-320). We are once again peering into the world made by the famine: piles of corpses—2 adults and 2 children—surround the two stranding figures, dressed in white and covering his face, the other dressed in black and looking toward the blank sky behind. Image size: 150x205mm. Price: $3000.
Si son de otro linage / Perhaps they are of another breed (Disasters of War, plate 61, Harris 181, Delteil 180). Original etching, lavis, 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 might otherwise have done. Our impression is from the 4th edition (1906) published from Goya's original plates in the Royal Academy in San Fernando, Spain. The tonal range in the piece goes from pure black to a very light tan. Harris notes that in the 2nd to 7th editions "the lavis disappear entirely." He also notes that the drypoint prints without burr and the etching deteriorates in the most closely worked areas. More specifically, in our fourth edition impression, the etching and drypoint print quite clearly and the burin marks are still very strong. The work may be less subtle but the end result is that it is more forceful. In this scene showing the effects of the famine, starvation has become a tourist attraction. The well-clothed, fleshy tourists, under the guidance of the gentleman in the cocked hat, have come to see for themselves these strange creatures so unlike themselves: the gaunt man with very little flesh covering his all-too evident bones and his bald head stands amidst a group of children, two of whom appear to be dead while the third one is leaning back against his knee and holding what is probably the head of a dead baby. The woman to the left of him cradles the head of an older child in her lap, but from the angle of her body, the child is no longer to be counted among the living either. To the right of the gaunt man, a child studies his child with great interest as if seeing something totally alien from herself and waiting to see whether it will do anything interesting that she can watch. After all, whatever they may have been, they are no longer human, like herself and the other members of her party. Image size: 155x205mm. Price: $2500.
Las camas de la muerte / The beds of death (Disasters of War, plate 62, Harris 182, Delteil 181). Original etching, lavis, drypoint, burin, and burnisher, c. 1808-1814. According to Harris, the plate is in "good to fair condition" during the first to seventh editions, when "the etching deteriorates considerably in the over-bitten areas of the women's heads, but otherwise prints well throughout. 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. The etched lines are strong and the burin work is still detailed, even though it is so dark that it is hard to see in our photograph. The title seeems to tell the whole story: the dead will not rise again in this lifetime; all that is left is to weep for them. Harris notes that this is also a "famine scene" and since there apparently was no food to feed the hungry, they died. Now all that is left is to mourn them. Illustrated Licht, p. 155. Image size: 175x220mm. Price: $3000.
Muertos recogidos / Harvest of the dead (Disasters of War, plate 63, Harris 183, Delteil 182). Original etching and burnished aquatint, c. 1808-1814. Harris notes that the "plate is in good condition" for the 1st edition and "fair to poor" in the 2nd to 7th editions: the aquatint weakens considerably and wears out entirely where it was strongly burnished.; the highlights and halftones lose their contrast, but, again, the "etching prints well throughout." All-in-all, ours is a strong impression. 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. After the famine, all that is left are the bodies of the dead, and se all we see is a heap of corpses. Collectively, these scenes are beginning to show that man's inhumanity to man can be augmented by nature's inhumanity: there is no mourning for deaths in nature; is there no one left to mourn among humans? Image size: 155x205mm. Price: $2500.

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