Francisco Goya’s The Third of May, 1808 Painting


In the early 1800s, Napoleon was the king of France and rose through the military’s ranks in the French revolution. King Napoleon was determined to control all the countries using political persuasion and violence. American colonies, together with Spain, allowed the French in under an alliance.


The alliance soon deteriorated when word got out that Napoleon was planning to take over King Charles IV of Spain and appoint his brother as the new king. The political climate by that time was disheartening, and this eventually led to the French revolution. Many artists used political violence as a stepping stone to their work.


Francisco Goya is known for using these political events and climate for supporting his artwork and also capturing that moment in history and connecting it to Christianity. Goya was able to create images and paintings that show sympathy for Spain. His piece The Third of May, 1808 specifically was a dark sympathetic piece for Goya as he painted about the massacres of the rebels of Madrid and the rebellion of the Napoleonic power and his brother Joseph Bonaparte. At this time there were many confrontations throughout the world but the most impactful one for Goya was the Peninsular war.


Francis Goya was an observer of his worldly surroundings and his art reflected the horrors of his time. Surrounded by enlightenment and the suppressions of the things like the Napoleonic invasions where many innocent protestors were shot and killed as seen in his painting Third of May, 1808. Goya’s paintings embody romanticisms from his time and emphasize subjectivity, strong personal emotion, as well as the imagination, and creativity.


Goya’s inventiveness through art attracted much political engagement and later influenced more modern artists to take part in creative confrontational political art. Future artists also admire the May 3, 1808 era and have used it for inspiration in their own portrayals of political murders. Goya also portrays a very determined leader since he never gets tired of his mission and focuses on the main idea of helping the French through paintings.


Thus, Goya’s Third of May remains as one of the most chilling images and paintings ever created over the cruelty of war.

Leave a Reply