Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen opens Goya’s ‘Disasters of War

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen presents Goya’s ‘Disasters of War, an exhibition, on view from 26 January until 21 July, 2013 a rare opportunity in the Netherlands to see the entire series of eighty prints by the Spanish artist Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (1746 – 1828). Displaying all the prints together gives a better sense of how the series evolves.

Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes (1746 – 1828), Así sucedió (This is how it happened), from: Los Desastres de la Guerra, c. 1810-1820 (published in 1863), Collection Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen.

The etchings were printed from eighty copper plates made by Goya between 1810 and 1820. Several editions were printed from the plates; the eighty etchings in the museum’s collection come from the first edition (1863). The captions on several etchings contain spelling errors that were corrected in later editions.

Because numerous impressions were made from the plates, over the years the plates became damaged. As a result the later prints are of a poorer quality. On the relatively early examples in the museum’s collection it is possible to identify the various printmaking techniques that Goya employed.

n ‘Los Desastres de la Guerra’ Goya provided a commentary on the Peninsular War (1808-1814) and the events shortly afterwards. The etchings show how the army mistreated the Spanish people. His critical stance made it dangerous to sell the etchings in this period. During the production of the copper plates Goya made impressions only to check that the results were as he desired. The large-scale printing of the etchings took place long after Goya’s death, when the copper plates were sold to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando in Madrid. The first edition was published by the Academy in 1863, thirty-five years after the artist’s death. Various other editions followed.

– www.boijmans.nl

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