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Francisco Goya: The Third of May, 1808 Essay

Formal Analysis

This is a painting of the Spanish painter Francisco Goya entitled El 3 de Mayo de 1808 (The Third of May, 1808). The work was painted in 1814. It is an Oil on canvas and it is dimensions are 8’9” x 3’4”. It is located at the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid, Spain. It is not known very well for what purpose, although every indication says that Goya’s intention was to capture the struggle of the Spanish people against French domination. May 2 was the start of the uprising of many protests against Napoleon’s forces in the city of Madrid. This day was the beginning of the Spanish War of Independence. The painting was painted in 1814, six years after the uprising. It says that this work was part of a set of 2 paintings. The work is set in a real space and also reflects a real situation that happened during that period. We can see that it is scale, as the sizes of the prisoners and the military are very even, it also has very real characteristics, you can distinguish the facial features on the people being executed.

On the other hand the French military are painted as killing machines, their silhouettes are impersonal because they have no face, all in the same approach. In the painting the lines stand out, these are present on the lamp, on the guns of the French military and the silhouette of the buildings that are in the background. To achieve some effects spots were placed, these can be seen in the blood of dead people who are on the floor, they were also used to give effect to the hills found in the back. Goya uses warm colors like black, red, brown and tan. You can say that cool colors are seen, like white on the shirt and on the lamp and grays, but the predominant colors are warm. Some colors show shade, as colors like blue-green are used, this can be seen on the belt or holster the sword of one of the soldiers, there are also saturation in some colors, like red.

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