GOYA: CHRONICLER OF ALL WARS.THE DISASTERS AND WAR PHOTOGRAPHY
Spain might be a country today to be known for being in financial turmoil, but the nation has had a great past full of valour, prosperity, struggle and of course, arts, painting and literature. Francisco de Goya is one of the greatest painters of Spain considered the “Father of Modern Art”. Known world over for his works, Goya is supposedly an artist who changed the way artists would interpret the world. His works, paintings and drawings, spread over a span of 60 years covering from about the last half of the 18th century to the first quarter of the 19th century portray varied aspect of human life. Ongoing is a painting exhibition of 82 aquatint paintings on war and disaster (based upon the Peninsular War (1808-1814)) at New Delhi’s Instituto Cervantes.
The tragedy of a disaster hidden behind the so called victory or defeat in case of a war is what the famous painter has tried to depict on the white canvas with black colours. The ugliness a war creates, of human form and shape, of human psyche and above all humanity and its sanity….the painting has done a commendable role of capturing these otherwise ignored aspects of war whose history is written by victors. War has its losers on both sides of the divide. Goya has captured the human side of defeat; the defeat of beauty, of dreams, of happiness and of all those intangible things which do not find a mention in the texts of History that the following generations would read.
“The 82 aquatint etchings that make up the series Los Desastres de la Guerra (The Disasters of War) illustrate the rawness and savagery of war, in this case, the Peninsular War (1808 – 1814), with prints of unrestricted severity and an underlying condemnation of the senselessness of war and its devastating consequences. This is exactly the universal message that Goya wanted to convey and that, through the photographs of yesterday’s and today’s war reporters, still condemns armed conflicts”, reads the information brochure on the exhibition.
It further says, “The series of prints is completed with a selection of photographs of the Spanish Civil War from the archives of the Biblioteca Nacional de Madrid (National Library of Madrid). The Spanish Civil War had tremendous international press coverage by extraordinary correspondents such as Robert Capa, David Seymour and Hans Namuth, as well as important Spanish photographers such as Agustí and Alfonso Sánchez. Using photography’s different applications from each time period, photographic documents of the main wars can be seen on this journey through the history of photojournalism, from the first correspondent sent to the Crimean War who photographed a war as organized as a military operation, to the Pulitzer and World Press Photo prizes, that harshly depict the images of the current conflicts covered in the press. It is the chronicle of images for our collective memory that has become an archive of the most terrible moments of our time.”
The exhibition is at New Delhi’s Instituto Cervantes, ground floor (exhibition hall 01 & 02) at 48 Hanuman Road, CP. It is on from 15/07/2011, Monday to Sunday, 11am-7pm and will continue till September the 15th.