03 MAY 1808 IN MADRID:

by Francisco de Goya y Lucientes

1814, 268 x 347 cm

      This emblematic work — and its counterpart, the 2nd of May — were painted by Goya in 1814, by commission of the Regency Council governing Spain following the War of Independence. The paintings were to “perpetuate” the most notable and heroic feats of Spain's most glorious insurrection against the Tyrant of Europe and were put on the Arch of Triumph that was built to honor the return to Madrid of King Ferdinard VII.
      The event depicted in this work is the violent French repression of the patriots who rose up in rebellion on 02 May 1808 against the invading forces of Napoléon. This painting has been considered as the greatest symbol of independence and of the defense of liberty of the Spanish people, although it has also become, without doubt, a universal statement about war and its consequences. With the force of the tragedy depicted here, Goya became the most important forbear of the contemporary artistic movement known as Expressionism.

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