Contextual Enquiries: Goya-The Disasters of War

The Disasters of War are a series of prints created by painter an printmaker Francisco Goya between 1810 and 1820.

Goya’s ‘Disasters of War’ series of prints were a precursor to the modern anti war movement and arguably war photography. The series was made in the themes of war,death and famine. The pictures are grotesque images of limbs heads and torsos tied to trees, screaming children being carried by women that flair hopelessly at  oncoming assailants. The black and white ink helps carry the somber mood prevalent in all the images and is an indicator of the disillusion felt by Goya at the war.

Goya created the prints as a sort of protest against violence in the Dos De Mayo uprising. Goya did not make his intention known at the time which is interesting as, in my own work, I am currently seeking a way of creating something that is more ambiguous, something that will make the viewer ask more or ponder a certain subject. Images of horror are prevalent in the world with todays mass media but sometimes a subtle hint of something terrible can create a stronger effect.

The work has been since ‘taken over by the Chapman brothers who purchased an entire set of prints and defaced them with clown faces and demonic mouse faces that in their own words made to connect Napoleons introduction of enlightenment with The Blair-Bush attempt at bringing democracy to Iraq.

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