Third of May, 1808

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Francisco Goya

Painted 1814-1815

The Third of May, 1808 painted by Francisco Goya depicts the battle at Medina del Rio Seco in Spain. Napoleon's troops marched into Medina del Rio Seco to be met by 21,000 Spanish troops protecting their city. Napoleon's troops lost 1,000 men, while the Spanish lost 3,500. Goya's painting reveals the fear and suffering of the Spanish, while Napoleon's troops show no mercy.

The Man in the White Shirt

The Man in the White Shirt is a Christ figure. His stance is similar to Christ on the Cross. The man is a martyr for the rest of the town, which is why his white cloths are not soiled. He is wearing a clean, white shirt, which is a signifigant difference compared to the other Spaniards. The towns people are wearing dirty, blood stained cloths of dark colors.

He gives Napoleon's troops a pleeding look, knowing that he is about to be shot. Each of the townspeople have distinct facial expressions telling their stories.

The Man has his arms spread in a "V" which repersents peace, something Napoleon's troops clearly have no regard for.

The Dead

The people who have already been shoot have casually been tossed aside to make room for the next victims. The monk preys over their dead bodies, perhaps in an effort to give them some peace. The man with his arms spread in a "V" looks pained, even in death. He, too, is asking for peace from the troops.

 

The Soldiers

Napoleon's troops' faces cannot be seen from the paintings viewer. However, the townspeople have a clear view of their faces and find themselves staring down the barrel of their guns. The troops are bathed both in darknes and light, which reveals their clothing to also be clean and unsoiled with the victims' blood.

The unsoiled clothing shows how the troops were above dirty clothing, placing them at a heigher level than the victims.

To the troops, the victims seem anonymous and worthless, while we can see otherwise. The darkness of the painting shows impending doom, which is brought by the troops.

Any regard for live is quickly cut down by the troops firing squad.