“Disasters of War”
Francisco de Goya (1746–1828) is recognized as the foremost Spanish artist of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Perhaps his greatest achievement as a printmaker, this famous series of prints concentrates on the lengthy Peninsular War (1808–1814) between Spanish forces and the invading army of Napoleon Bonaparte. One of the earliest attempts by an artist to record history as it was unfolding, the "Disasters of War" was based on Goya’s experience of the conflict. As such, its images are powerful eye-witness accounts of death and destruction generated by war. In addition to questioning the futility of battle, they also critique the tyranny of monarchy, be it French or Spanish, and the clergy. Because of political complications, Goya did not print these etchings during his lifetime. The first set of prints was not published until 1863. Several successive editions have also been printed. The entire set, a 1906 edition given to the museum in 1985 by Mr. and Mrs. James B. Anderson, comprises 80 prints. This exhibition features all 80 prints and is organized by Lynn Boland, Pierre Daura Curator of European Art at the Georgia Museum of Art, with the assistance of Angela Woodlee, a graduate student in art history at the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia.