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Francisco Goya y Lucientes (Spanish, 1746-1828): The Disasters of War 1 to 11

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 / Caprichos 18-24 / 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 Desasters 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 devasted 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).
Titlepage to the 4th edition of Goya's Los Desastres de la Guerra / Colección de ochenta láminas inventadas y grabadas al agua-forte / Por / Don Francisco Goya / Publicala in Real Academia de Belles Artes de San Fernando / Madrid / 1906. The first edition was published in 1863 in an edition of 500. The second edition was printed in the Calcografia for the Real Academia in 1892 in an edition of 100 impressions. Harris says that the plates were probably steel-faced before the making of this edition and notes that the edition is generally well printed but that the impressions are considerably inferior to those of the first edition. The third edition was also made in the Calcografia for the Real Academia and was printed in 1903 in an edition of 100 impressions, which Harris describes as "very inferior to the second" edition. The fourth edition was made in the Calcografia for the Real Academia in 1906 and issued in a black and white marbled board cover (ours is in a box which has a tooled leather spine holding the parts together). Harris describes it as "excellently printed on very suitable papers. The impressions are generally a little inferior to those of the second edition but are better than those of the third." Unless otherwise state, all of our impressions come from the fourth edition. The sheet size is 234x315mm.
Tristes presentimientes de lo que ha de accontecer / Sad presentiments of what must come to pass (Disasters, pl. 1, Harris 121, Delteil 120). Original etching, burin, drypoint, and burnisher. 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." Illustrated in Hughes, p. 274, Licht, p. 129. Image size: 175x220mm. Price: $5000.
Con razon ô sin ella / Rightly or wrongly (Disasters, pl. 2, Harris 122, Delteil 121). Original etching, lavis, drypoint, burin, and burnisher. 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." Illustrated Chabron, p. 185. Image size: 155x205mm. Price: $2500.
Lo mismo / The Same (Disasters, pl. 3, Harris 123, Delteil 122). Original etching, lavis, drypoint, burin, and burnisher. 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." Here two better-armed soldiers are about to be overwhelmed by two Spaniards, one armed with a knife, the other with an ax; at least two other bodies are visible, one a Spaniard, the other a partisan. Illustrated in Hughes, p. 276. Image size: 160x220mm. Price: $2500.
Las mugeres dan valar / The women give courage, pl. 4, Harris 124, Delteil 123). Original etching, burnished aquatint, lavis, drypoint, and burnisher. 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." Here two women are struggling with two French soldiers: the one on the left seems about to stab the soldier, but the woman on the right seems about to perish: the soldier has one hand in her hair and is pulling her head back while his other hand is pushing her towards the ground. Courage is not enough! Image size: 155x205mm. Price: $2500.
Y son fieras / And they are like wild beasts (Disasters of War, plate 5, Delteil 124, Harris 125). Original etching, burnished aquatint, 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, which Tomas Harris categorizes as "excellently printed on very suitable papers." The scene here is a general melee: in the foreground, a woman holding her baby on her hip is killing a soldier with a sword. Behind him, another soldier is engaged in single combat with a woman holding a sword. This action appears to be taking place over the fallen bodies of at least one soldier and two partisans. Behind them, a soldier is aiming point blank at a body obscured by the women while yet another women is getting ready to hurl a large stone at the soldier. In the left foreground, a woman holding a knife is looking up at the heavens as she expires. Illustrated in Hughes, p. 289.Image size: 155x230mm. Price: $2500.
Bien te se esta / It serves you right (Disasters of War, plate 6, Delteil 125, Harris 126). Original etching, lavis, and burin, c. 1808-1814. Signed "Goya" 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, which Tomas Harris categorizes as "excellently printed on very suitable papers." In the foreground, the French soldiers appear to be trying to tend their wounded and dead; in the background the battle seems to be continuing. Image size: 140x210mm. Price: $2500.
Que valor! / What courage! (Disasters of War, plate 7, Delteil 126, Harris 127). Original etching, aquatint, drypoint, burin, and and burnisher, 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, which Tomas Harris categorizes as "excellently printed on very suitable papers." Hughes comments: This "is the only conventionally 'heroic' plate in the whole series—heroic in that the artist presents a character as entirely courageous and worthy of admiration, neither a helpless victim, nor a person driven by terror to involuntary acts of courage, nor a bestial and atrocious intruder: in short, a citizen in full command of her humanity. This person was already a legendary heroine when Goya reached Zaragoza: she was Augustina of Aragón, a young Zaragozan woman who, with complete disregard for her own safety, had clambered over the bodies of slain defenders on the ramparts of the city (a pile said to have contained the corpse of her lover) in order to fire a twenty-six-pound cannon at the advancing French" (Hughes, Goya, p. 288). She is, however, standing upon a heap of corpses. However heroic she might be, the scene itself depicts a disaster. Illustrated in Hughes, p. 287 and Chapron, p. 173. Image size: 155x210mm. Price: $5000.
Siempre sucede / It always happens (Disasters of War, plate 8, Delteil 127, Harris 128). Original etching and drypoint, 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, which Tomas Harris categorizes as "excellently printed on very suitable papers." The scene shows three French cavalrymen on their horses. The one up front is about to perish, the one in the mid-ground looks with concern at this fallen comrade; the one furthest back gallops on heedlessly. In battles, horses and men die. Image size: 175x220mm. Price: $2000.
No quieren / They don't like it (Disasters of War, plate 9, Delteil 128, Harris 129). Original etching and drypoint, 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, which Tomas Harris categorizes as "excellently printed on very suitable papers." A French soldier is about to rape a young woman (she won't like that and is trying to push him away and scratch his face); behind the soldier, an older woman (mother? aunt?) is about to stab the soldier (he won't like that). Image size: 155x210mm. Price: $3500.
Tampoco / Nor [do these] either (Disasters of War, plate 10, Delteil 129, Harris 130). Original etching and burin, 1808-1814. Signed "Goya" in reverse lower right 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, which Tomas Harris categorizes as "excellently printed on very suitable papers." Looking at this work, one cannot help wondering whether General William T. Sherman was familiar with Goya's Disasters: war is indeed hell, nor are any of these people out of it! Looking at this work, it is hard to even disentangle the bodies from each other. Hughes sees this plate "a brutish and incoherent tangle of bodies, where three French soldiers (their sabers laid almost demurely aside as their penises, by implication, take over) struggle on the bare ground with their women victims, under the lowering murk of the evening sky." I think this seems a far more orderly picture than the work offers. The very large figure on the left has bare feet and white trousers; the two French soldiers on the right, their white belts crossed, are wearing boots and dark pants. The figure at right has one arm circling the body of a squirming woman and his other hand seems to be reaching out toward her face, which is turned away from him, perhaps to turn her over. Someone, perhaps the half naked figure at left, seeems to be pushing the head of rearmost figure away from the woman with whom the soldier on the right is grappling.The result for me a a depiction of that war of each against all the Hobbes described as life in the state of nature. Illustrated in Hughes, p. 291. Image size: 150x215mm. Price: $2500.
Ni por esas / Neither do these (Disasters of War, plate 11, Delteil 130, Harris 131). Original etching, lavis, drypoint, and burin, 1808-1814. Signed "Goya" 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, which Tomas Harris categorizes as "excellently printed on very suitable papers." A French soldier is about to rape a young woman, whose baby has been torn from her and thrown onto the ground; behind another soldier is pulling at another woman, ignoring her efforts to bat him away, to the right of her, but obscured by the first soldier, yet another woman's body can be see on the ground, the head of yet another soldier is visible bending over her, whether before raping her or rising from the rape, while to the extreme right, yet another woman is on her knees, her body twisted, her hands not visible (perhaps tied behind her). The action is taking pace in the shadows of an archway; behind the shadowed area, a small church can be seen, complete with a bell in its steeple, gray against the lighted background. Hughes (p. 292) suggests that this scene—"compositionally the most developed of the three rape scenes . . . shows to a sublime degree what power Goya could develop when his talent for showing awful events in terms of utter compositional starkness was fully at work." Illustrated in Hughes, p. 291.Image size: 160x210mm. Price: $3000.

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