The painting commemorates a dark moment in Spanish history. Once in place, the infamous French emperor began to take control of regions of Spain. But before he could, he was forced by angry citizens to abdicate in favor of his son, Ferdinand VII.
It is the second in a pair of paintings depicting an act of resistance and its consequences. It could seem flagrantly propagandising.
The composition strikes up an opposition between the Spaniards on the left, and the French troops on the right. They are ranked precisely, robotic and machine like as they unwaveringly face their task. The Spaniards are varied in pose and appearance, individualised characters, clearly a rather disorganised gang, made up of young and old men, even a priest is depicted lining up to be executed.
We are thus given more of a sense of them as real people, compared to the French troops, who are reduced to identical slaves to their master Napoleon, which makes us empathise further with the Spaniards. Traditionally a symbol of the fight between good and evil, Goya contrasts areas of bright light with darkness, using the clever device of the large, square lantern to enforce a decisive dividing line between the two groups of figures.
The Spaniards are brightly lit, the troops flung into darkness. The bar of the corner of the lantern marks this separation clearly on the ground for the viewer to see, thus allying the Spaniards with the forces of good, the troops with those of evil.
There is no questioning the brutal injustice of the event depicted, a true event, as those suspected of taking part in the resistance attack of the previous day were summarily executed. However this good vs.
Evil message seems a little simple for Goya, particularly when compared with the aquatint prints he was still producing at the time. The main figure is kneeling, were he to stand he would tower over the others.
This sacrifice of his own life despite his superiority has clear religious parallels. This is certainly a valid interpretation, as I believe Goya intended it to be. But he has also cleverly women in his own ideas in relation to this even, going beyond this black and white interpretation.
A general tone of futility is set up through his use of composition and subtle symbolism. The composition hems in the viewer, thrusting us right into the action, close to the figures. In order to achieve this Goya departs from reality — the gunmen are far closer than they would really have been, firing at such close range would have been a very messy business.
This reminds us that Goya did not witness the event, he is recreating a story he has been told. The painting is on a large scale, but the action is packed tightly within it, so there is a sense almost of a condensing of emotions.
The scene took place on the outskirts of Madrid, which we see opening out behind the troops. However behind the Spaniards Goya has enclosed the space, introducing a boulder or hillock, which stops the viewer from being able to look beyond, forcing them to focus on the execution itself.
The Spanish figures form a clear pattern of those awaiting execution, those being executed, and those lying dead on the ground. Those waiting are on a lower level than those being shot.The Third of May is a painting completed in by the Spanish master Francisco Goya, now in the Museo del Prado, Madrid.
Along with its companion piece of the same size, The Second of May (or The Charge of the Mamelukes), it was commissioned by . The Third of May is known by several names.
There are variant titles, including The Shootings of May 3, The Third of May in Madrid, or The Executions. The Third of May (also known as El tres de mayo de en Madrid, or Los fusilamientos de la montaña del Príncipe Pío, or Los fusilamientos del tres de mayo) is a painting completed in by the Spanish painter Francisco Goya, now in the Museo del Prado, Madrid.
In the work, Goya Year: Detail, Francisco Goya, The Third of May, , , oil on canvas (Museo del Prado, Madrid) Transforming Christian iconography Goya’s painting has been lauded for its brilliant transformation of Christian iconography and its poignant portrayal of man’s inhumanity to man.
The Third of May, painted by Francisco Goya depicts the battle at Medina del Rio Seco in Spain. Napoleon's troops marched into Medina del Rio Seco to be met by 21, Spanish troops protecting their city.
Napoleon's troops lost 1, men, while the Spanish lost 3, Francisco Goya, The Third of May, in Madrid, , , oil on canvas, x cm (Museo del Prado, Madrid) Napoleon puts his brother on the throne of Spain In , Napoleon, bent on .