The Romantic Spanish painter, Goya, was an artist with a social conscience. While he dutifully did royal portraits and captured giddy aristocrats at play, donning his war correspondent’s hat, he also boldly depicted Spanish revolutionaries in battle and in death.
Complete Video Script
[18, Francisco Goya, 1746–1828] The Romantic Spanish painter, Francisco Goya, was an artist with a social conscience and a political agenda. As a successful painter of royal portraits, he dutifully recorded their extravagant finery, but also their famously clueless faces. He painted the idle rich at play…
[19, Saturn Devouring His Son, c. 1823, Goya, Prado Museum, Madrid] … while also branching out into more serious subjects. He explored the most extreme of emotions — grotesque scenes of madness and pain, revealing the dark side of the human condition.
[20, The Second of May 1808, Goya, Prado Museum, Madrid] And he boldly depicted the painful reality of foreign oppression. First, the brave Spanish resistance, and then…
[21, The Third of May 1808, 1814, Goya, Prado Museum, Madrid]…the brutal aftermath, when the soldiers of the French emperor — a faceless firing squad — mow down the revolutionaries…idealistic freedom-fighters — one by one. Bodies fall…blood stains the ground. Men cover their eyes in horror. In the darkness, Goya throws a dramatic light on the next victim, a nameless peasant — the common man — who becomes a hero. He spreads his arms and asks, "Why?" This masterpiece of the Romantic style — vivid brushwork, stark shadows, distorted features, so full of human drama — expressed the anguish of Europe's masses, longing to be free.