It has been called the first European painting to depict the raw killing of war. Everything about it is designed to shock, from the brilliant light falling on the huddled prisoners, the pitiful way they cover their faces or wring their hands, and the pungent smears of blood on the ground, to the nearness of the executioners' muzzles to their victims. Goya's greatest strokes are compositional: He shows only the backs of the soldiers, illustrating the notion of killing as anonymous, faceless, callous; and he makes the brightest part of the canvas the figure of the man with his arms flung wide, as if awaiting crucifixion.
He is Goya's Everyman, a martyr for all those killed in the struggle against a foreign invader, for all those who die in disastrous, murderous wars.
By PHILIP HARTIGAN, an artist and writer living in Chicago. Image: Tres de Mayo, 1808. Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828). Painted in 1814. Museo del Prado, Madrid. Erich Lessing/Art Resource, N.Y.
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|Title Annotation:||meditation; Francisco de Goya's painting|
|Article Type:||Brief article|
|Date:||Sep 1, 2006|
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