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Cover thumbnail for Los Desastres de la Guerra Los Desastres de la Guerra

In 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte declared himself Emperor of France; in 1808 he invaded Spain. Sending the royal family into exile, he installed his brother Joseph on the Spanish throne. This action incensed the native populace and precipitated the Spanish War of Independence. Between 1808 and 1813, Spaniards fought a guerrilla war against the greatest army in Europe to free themselves from French domination. From the beginning of the War until about 1820, Goya worked on the 80 prints he would call Los Desastres de la Guerra (The Disasters of War). Rather than depicting heroic soldiers and scenes of glorious battle, Goya produced stark, sobering images of brutality, slaughter and misery. His images exposed the horror of war, from the ferocity of village fighting (plates 2-27) to the terrible famine that ravaged Madrid in 1811-12, claiming 20,000 lives (plates 48-64). In the "caprichos emphaticos" (plates 65-80) the artist comments on the war's political, religious, and ideological aspects and ramifications. With a stark intensity unprecedented in the history of art, these prints convey the barbarity and futility of war. No one is spared from man's inhumanity toward man, and no death is glorious. Los Desastres de la Guerra were not published during Goya's lifetime, possibly because the artist feared that some of the prints were politically dangerous or, perhaps, because he knew that the nation was too tired of war to be responsive. The prints finally appeared in 1863, revealing a theme that would continue to be expressed in the art of the twentieth century: the suffering of civilians when war is no longer confined to the battlefield.

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Title Artist Medium & Support Creation Date
Los Desastres de la Guerra, 1st edition, plate 1, Tristes presentimientos de lo que ha de acontecer (Sad forebodings of what is going to happen)   Goya, Francisco de   Etching and drypoint on paper  1863 
Los Desastres de la Guerra, 1st edition, plate 2, Con razon ó sin ella (Right or wrong)   Goya, Francisco de   Etching and drypoint on paper  1863 
Los Desastres de la Guerra, 1st edition, plate 3, Lo mismo (The same)   Goya, Francisco de   Etching and drypoint on paper  1863 
Los Desastres de la Guerra, 1st edition, plate 4, Las mugeres dan valor (The women give courage)   Goya, Francisco de   Etching and aquatint on paper  1863 
Los Desastres de la Guerra, 1st edition, plate 5, Y son fieras (And they are like wild beasts)   Goya, Francisco de   Etching and aquatint on paper  1863 
Los Desastres de la Guerra, 1st edition, plate 6, Bien te se está (It serves you right)   Goya, Francisco de   Etching on paper  1863 
Los Desastres de la Guerra, 1st edition, plate 7, Que valor! (What courage!)   Goya, Francisco de   Etching and aquatint on paper  1863 
Los Desastres de la Guerra, 1st edition, plate 8, Siempre sucede (It always happens)   Goya, Francisco de   Etching and drypoint on paper  1863 
Los Desastres de la Guerra, 1st edition, plate 9, No quieren (They don't want to)   Goya, Francisco de   Etching and aquatint on paper  1863 
Los Desastres de la Guerra, 1st edition, plate 10, Tampoco (Nor these)   Goya, Francisco de   Etching on paper  1863 
Los Desastres de la Guerra, 1st edition, plate 11, Ni por esas (Neither do these)   Goya, Francisco de   Etching and drypoint on paper  1863 
Los Desastres de la Guerra, 1st edition, plate 12, Para eso habeis nacido (This is what you were born for)   Goya, Francisco de   Etching and drypoint on paper  1863 
Los Desastres de la Guerra, 1st edition, plate 13, Amarga presencia (Bitter presence)   Goya, Francisco de   Etching and drypoint on paper  1863 
Los Desastres de la Guerra, 1st edition, plate 14, Duro es el paso! (It's a hard step!)   Goya, Francisco de   Etching and drypoint on paper  1863 
Los Desastres de la Guerra, 1st edition, plate 15, Y no hai remedio (And there is no help)   Goya, Francisco de   Etching and drypoint on paper  1863 
Los Desastres de la Guerra, 1st edition, plate 16, Se aprochevan (They avail themselves)   Goya, Francisco de   Etching and drypoint on paper  1863 
Los Desastres de la Guerra, 1st edition, plate 17, No se convienen (They do not agree)   Goya, Francisco de   Etching and drypoint on paper  1863 
Los Desastres de la Guerra, 1st edition, plate 18, Enterrar y callar (Bury them and keep quiet)   Goya, Francisco de   Etching and drypoint on paper  1863 
Los Desastres de la Guerra, 1st edition, plate 19, Ya no hay tiempo (There isn't time now)   Goya, Francisco de   Etching and drypoint on paper  1863 
Los Desastres de la Guerra, 1st edition, plate 20, Curarlos, y á otra (Take care of them, and on to the next)   Goya, Francisco de   Etching on paper  1863 
Los Desastres de la Guerra, 1st edition, plate 21, Será lo mismo (Much the same)   Goya, Francisco de   Etching on paper  1863 
Los Desastres de la Guerra, 1st edition, plate 22, Tanto y mas (All this and more)   Goya, Francisco de   Etching on paper  1863 
Los Desastres de la Guerra, 1st edition, plate 23, Lo mismo en otras partes (The same elsewhere)   Goya, Francisco de   Etching and drypoint on paper  1863 
Los Desastres de la Guerra, 1st edition, plate 24, Aun podrán servir (They can still be of use)   Goya, Francisco de   Etching on paper  1863 
Los Desastres de la Guerra, 1st edition, plate 25, Tambien estos (These too)   Goya, Francisco de   Etching and drypoint on paper  1863 

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