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The Third of May 1808 (Execution of the Defenders of Madrid) Prev Next

Ejecución de los Defensores de Madrid, 03 de mayo 1808


Completion Date: 1814

Style: Romanticism

Genre: history painting

Technique: oil

Material: canvas

Dimensions: 266 x 345 cm

Gallery: Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain

Tags: military-and-soldiers, executions, historical-events, defense-of-Madrid

This painting was commissioned by the provisional government of Spain, upon Goya’s suggestion, to commemorate the invasion of Spain by Napoleon’s troops in 1808. At the time it was painted, the painting was considered groundbreaking and revolutionary, as it presents the horrors of war that had heretofore not been openly illustrated. The painting focuses on one man, illuminated in white light in the middle of the painting, arms held out to the sides, facing a French firing squad. His slain companions litter the ground. It is thus considered one of the first pieces of modern art. This painting has influence a number of other artists, who have directly referenced the style and setting of the painting, including Edouard Manet and Pablo Picasso.

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