The University of Arizona Museum of Art and Archive of Visual Arts

Goya’s Mastery in Prints: Disasters of War

Francisco José de Goya (1746-1828),  Y no hay remedio (And there's no help for it), 1810-1820

October 11, 2007 – February 3, 2008

UAMA continues the presentation of Goya’s Mastery in Prints, a four-exhibition cycle of extraordinary etching suites by Francisco de Goya on loan from the Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. These exhibitions celebrate the Spanish master’s revolutionary graphic techniques and profound influence on subsequent artistic generations.

This extraordinary cycle of exhibitions continues with Los Desastres de la Guerra (The Disasters of War, 1810-1820), inspired by Goya’s reaction to the Peninsular War of 1808-1814 — including the French invasion of Spain through brutal attacks on the civilian population, guerrilla retaliations against Napoleon Bonaparte’s armies, and the ravaging famine in Madrid — and the enormous impact of these events on the life of the nation.

Presented in numerical sequence, the 80 etchings in this suite emphasize Goya’s direct response to the horrific brutalities and consequences of this war, alongside sharply satirical portrayals of political and religious corruption in its aftermath. The prints are grouped into three sections: war scenes (plates 2-47), famine scenes (plates 48-64) and the allegorical caprichos enfáticos (“emphatic caprices,” plates 65-80). The captions on the prints, possibly penned by the artist, possess the quality of wild oratory. As they guide the viewer’s attention, they also create for the series an internal rhythm, connecting some plates in narrative sequences of mounting narrative horror while allowing others to stand alone, as startling punctuation.

Although Goya printed several early proofs during his lifetime, the complete suite of Los Desastres de la Guerra was first published in 1863, 35 years after his death, by the Royal Academy of San Fernando.


Download the gallery guide for this exhibition.

(Adobe Acrobat file, may take a moment to download)

Also see the related exhibition, Correspondence: In Relation to Goya ~ Joseph Peragine

Visit our subsequent Goya exhibitions:

Goya’s Mastery in Prints: La Tauromaquia

Goya’s Mastery in Prints: Los Disparates

Goya’s Mastery in Prints: Los Caprichos