Goya’s Third of May 1808

Goya painted the Third of May for a Republican government to commemorate the Spanish revolt against the French during the Peninsular Wars – an uprising against Napoleonic rule that led to the birth of modern Spain.  As a political event it still resonates today; as a painting it remains a most powerful and haunting image of war. It is arguably one of the first great political paintings – and boldly portrays the brutality of the firing squad and the horror of those facing imminent death. This lecture looks at the political and artistic background of this painting, and its influence on Manet and Picasso.