FRANCISCO JOSÉ DE GOYA Y LUCIENTES
1746 Fuendetodos - Bordeaux 1828
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No se puede saber por qué – One can’t tell why ca. 1808–14
etching, burnished aquatint, drypoint, and burin on laid paper; 155 x 203 mm (6 1/8 x 8 inches)
Harris 155.I.2 (of III.7)
Infante Don Sebastian de Borbón y Braganza
Georges Provôt, Paris;
his sale, Hôtel Drouot, April 10, 1935, lot 64
Tomás Harris, London (not in Lugt)
private collection, Germany
Proof impression for plate 35 of Los Desastres de la Guerra, before numbers and before additional drypoint and burin work.
No impression of state I.1 (before the aquatint) is known nor any proof impressions with numbers (Harris’ hypothetical state I.3). Harris lists nine impressions of state I.2, including this one.
In this gruesome image of a mass execution no less than eight convicts are about to be garroted. Each man clutches a crucifix—a sign that he has already made his last confession. Their crime—ownership of a weapon— is announced on placards hanging around their necks, alongside the weapons themselves. Many Spanish citizens were executed this way. Their crimes were not only murder and armed robbery; suspicion of espionage for the insurgents or any other support for them was sufficient to subject the accused to this cruel fate.