The Third of May, 1808 The Execution of the Defenders of Madrid Essay
The Third of May, 1808 The Execution of the Defenders of Madrid, 496 words essay example
Essay Topic: contrast, graphic, act, group
The Third of May, 1808 The Execution of the Defenders of Madrid
The Third of May is an oil painting by Francisco Goya created in Spain, in the romanticism era. According to Landmarks in Humanities (pg. 343), the painting is a depiction of inhumane savagery by French troops executing Spanish civilians in the city outskirts of Madrid, during the invasion of Spain by Napoleon. The artists uses sharp contrast of bright and dark colors to depict a gruesome scene of what appears to be a firing squad shooting at a horrified group of people.
The light source appears to be from a lantern on the ground, to the right lower center of the picture, between the troops and the rebels. It illuminates the people being shot at, especially the man in the white shirt. The light creates a sharp contrast with the rest of the painting which appears to be gloomy and dark. This contrast may have been used by the artists to evoke the emotions felt by the captives such as the imminent doom and or the troop's brutal act that's viewed as inhumane and void of any emotion.
The artist employs implied lines to direct the viewer's eyes to the people being shot at the guns pointed towards the civilians, and the army troops who form a line from the left to the right of the picture, are used to guide the viewer's eye towards the civilians. The main direction of the painting however, appears to be to the man wearing a white shirt in the middle of the painting. More than one gun is pointed at him, and he is centrally located in the painting.
The man in the white shirt appears to be on his knees with his arms spread out either in defiance or seemingly accepting the fate that awaits him. To his left are bloody victims presumed to be dead by the lifeless nature of their bodies. To his right, is a group of captives waiting for their turn in front of the firing squad. The captives appear to be horrified by the events as evidenced by their facial expressions, with some covering their faces with their hands. The army troops on the other hand are a representation of injustice and cruelty they are painted with their backs towards the viewer, their faces hidden in addition to them being positioned in the shadows. To them the troops, life seems worthless, and they clearly have no regard for it
The artist thus successfully manages to create a painting that elicits strong emotions from the viewer by simply using contrast in colors and enhancing the graphic details in the painting. The sharp contrast between the heroes and anti-heroes was against the norm of paintings of that era which only showed heroic acts. Besides, the majority of humanity can identify with victims of violence as depicted in the painting, which might be the reason why the painting elicits such strong emotions to the viewer therefore remaining timeless.