Franciso Goya, The Third of May 1808, 1814

Goya was deeply affected by the horrors he saw during Napoleon’s invasion during the Peninsular War in 1808, and he put his thoughts to canvas. While pretending to work with the Spanish army to take over Portugal, Napoleon placed 23,000 troops into Spain who then turned on the Spanish. The people rejected French rule and there was an uprising in Madrid on May 2, 1808. The French reprisal started in the early hours on the morning of May 3, when they rounded up Spanish citizens involved in the uprising and marched them before firing squads. Goya gives us a pre-dawn moment where a Christ-like figure stands before the steely rifles of the French troops.

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