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Home / Gallery Tour 1 / "The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters" / Gallery Tour 2 / Artists
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Francisco Goya y Lucientes (Spanish, 1746-1828): The Disasters of War 74-81

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), Daniel 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).
Esto es lo peor / This is the Original etching and burnisher, c. 1808-1814. Harris notes that the "plate is in good condition" for the first to seventh editions: "Etching prints well throughout. In the first edition the burnishing marks in the foreground print as soft lines and the burnished etching prints with a blurred effect; later the burnishing marks disappear and the etching appears slightly broken." 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. Harris helpfully tells us that the words inscribed by the wolf on the parchment are "Misera humanidad la culpa es tuya. Casti (Miserable humanity, the fault is thine), by the Italian satirical poet." Goya provides us with an interesting moment here, when the tonsured priest is told by the wolf, that the priest, not the wolf, a traditional figure for the devil, is to blame for the misery of mankind. And if the priest is supposed to represent the best of mankind, what does that tell us about the rest of us. It is true that sometimes in Los Desastres priests fall far short of that idea (one thinks, for instance, of plates 42 and 43), but sometimes they are faithful unto death (for instance plates 46 and 47). Image size: 180x220mm. Price: $3000.
Farándula de Charlatanes / Charlatans' Show (Disasters, plate 75, Harris 195, Delteil 194). Original etching, aquatint or lavis, drypoint and burnisher, c. 1808-1814. Harris notes that the "plate is in good condition" for the first edition, fair in the second edition, and "fair to poor" in the the third to seventh editions: "Paler aquatint / lavis tone almost wears out, the stronger tone wears unevenly. Etching 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. According to Wikipedia, "The farandole is an open-chain community dance popular in Provence, France. . . . The carmagnole of the French Revolution is a derivative."The birds and beasts surround the dancers and observe with mixed reactions. Behind the dancers surrounding the central figure (is it a bird? a masked person? does it have the wrong number of fingers for either?), a colossus-like figures's shadow rears up alarmingly. Image size: 175x220mm. Price: $3500.
El buitre carnivoro / The carnivorous vulture (Disasters, pl. 76, Harris 196, Delteil 195). Original etching, drypoint (?), burin, and burnisher, c. 1808-1814. Harris notes that the "plate is in good condition" for the first edition and "fair to poor" in the the second to seventh editions: After the first edition, "the false biting almost wears out and the burnishing marks disappear. Burin work stands out strongly on the vulture's neck, breast, and wings. Etching prints poorly." 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. Behind the soldier to the left are a group of women, two of whom are holding babies, one nervously and the one closest to the vulture seems calling out encouragement to the soldier. Those closest to the vulture seem unable to leave, unlike their neighbors behind them who have already turned away and seem to be leaving. Illustrated Chabrun, p. 188. Image size: 175x220mm. Price: $3500.

I should probably have been saying this regularly, but the etching and burin marks are much sharper on the print itself than they are on my monitor.
Que se rompe la cuerda / May the cord break (Disasters, pl. 77, Harris 197, Delteil 196). Original etching, burnished aquatint or lavis, drypoint, and burnisher, c. 1808-1814. Harris notes that in the first edition, the plate is in good condition and in fair condition for the second to seventh editions: "Tone almost wears out, particularly on the priest's dress where the burnishing marks disappear, and the plate prints almost as a pure etching. Scratch prints without burr. Etching prints well throughout." Our impression is from the 4th edition (1906) published from Goya's original plates in the Royal Academy in San Fernando, Spain. In Goya's original drawing, the priest wears a papal tiara. The finger of the boy on the right points at the rapidly-unraveling rope. Illustrated in Hughes, p. 301. Image size: 175x220mm. Price: $3500.
Se defiende bien / He defends himself well (Disasters, pl. 78, Harris 198, Delteil 197). Original etching, drypoint, burin, and burnisher, c. 1808-1814. Harris notes that in the first edition, the plate is in good condition; in the second through seventh editions, the plate is in fair to poor condition.:"The tone almost wears out and the burnishing marks disappear. The drypoint prints without burr. Etching deteriorates slightly." 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 horse is surrounded by a pack of dogs, one of whom he is biting and the rest of whom seems to have lost their appetite for combat. Since the horse is the more noble animal, this may suggest that all is not yet lost if the leaders of the democratic movement do not given in to the king and his minions. Or perhaps not. Image size: 175x220mm. Price: $3000.
Murió la verdad / Truth has died (Disasters, pl. 79, Harris 199, Delteil 198). Original etching and burnisher, c. 1808-1814. Harris notes that the "plate is in good to fair condition "for the first to seventh editions." Harris notes that the "Etching prints very well throughout. Where it was burnished on the faces of the bishop and monk, it prints with a blurred effect in the first edition. The plate was not clean wiped in the first edition and the impressions print with considerable tone. In the later, clean-wiped editions, the highlights contrast more strong with the etching." 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, which Tomas Harris categorizes as excellently printed on very suitable papers." Truth is dead, and Justice, scales across her lap weeps, while a bloated bishop, his face in shadow, speaks of her corpse. Behind him, a large cast of clerical figures, most of them in darkness, except for a monk (left rear) wearing very thick glasses, whose path to Truth's body is blocked by another monk, whose back is illuminated by the rays from the corpse, but whose front is in darkness., her Image size: 175x220mm. Price: $5000.
Si resucitará? Will she rise again? (pl. 80, Harris 200, Delteil 199). Original etching and burnisher, c. 1808-1814. Harris notes that the "plate is in good to fair condition for the first to seventh editions." Harris adds, "In the first edition, the burnishing marks round Truth's head and on the figure to the right are clearly visible and the plate prints with a general tone. Etching prints very well throughout." Our impression, from the 4th edition (1906) published from Goya's original plates in the Royal Academy in San Fernando, Spain, is a very strong one: the tone ranges from jet black to pure white and the lines are sharp enough that we can see Truth's open eyes, something that those surrounding her cannot since the are blinded by the light that they hate and fear. As Hughes puts it, "In plate 80 . . . lovely bare-breasted Truth begins to shine again, to move, while those who would bury her recoil in confusion, clutching their shovels and books. A feverish and tentative hope is reborn in Goya's darkness" (Hughes, p. 303, where the plate is illustrated as well). All of the clerical figures, however, prove themselves creatures of darkness, even to the point that one—holding a book over his head—appears to have an animals face. A strong and powerful work that witnesses to Goya's fearlessness despite the return of the Inquisition as well as his hope that his country and his fellow Spaniards might yet reach out for Truth, like the man praying over Truth, his hands clasped and his face bathed by the light Truth is giving off. A very powerful statement of rejection of the madness the Inquisition has perpetrated on his country. Image size: 175x220mm. Price: $5000.
Fiero Monstruo! / Fierce monster! (pl. 81, Harris 201, Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez, & Julián Gállego, pp. 140-41, Delteil 200; Hofer translates the title as Proud Monster ). Original etching, drypoint, and burin, c. 1808-1814. A very good impression on Arches paper from a plate excluded from the early published editions (which only had 80 prints) and only editioned in the 20th century (though several trial proofs were printed c. 1870). Sánchez and Gállego suggest that this print sums up the entire series in presenting war as a " 'fierce monster' from a terrible nightmare, devouring humanity with dreadful violence" (p. 141). Our impression is from the first edition published by the Calcografia Nacional in 1958-59 with their seal in the lower left margin; it was presented to the Academicians of San Fernando. Harris does not give a number, but the edition was presumably small because a second edition was printed in 1959 in an edition of 110 with the sheets numbered in pencil. Rare! Image size: 175x250mm. Price: $5000.

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