Disasters of War: Exhibition Fitzwilliam Museum and Tate
This portfolio of 83 etchings plus 12 proofs is the Chapman brothers’ response to, and reinterpretation of, Goya’s famous series of The Disasters of War.
And 3 D models in the Tate Gallery
Series of 82 prints created as a visual protest against the violence of the 1808 Dos de Mayo Uprising, the subsequent Peninsular War of 1808–14 and the setbacks to the liberal cause following the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy in 1814. Goya was in poor health and almost deaf when, at 62, he began work on the prints. They were not published until 1863, 35 years after his death. It is likely that only then was it considered politically safe to distribute a sequence of artworks criticising both the French and restored Bourbons.
The series was produced using a variety of intaglio printmaking techniques, mainly etching for the line work and aquatint for the tonal areas, but also engraving and drypoint. considered in three groups which broadly mirror the order of their creation. The first 47 focus on incidents from the war and show the consequences of the conflict on individual soldiers and civilians. The middle series (plates 48 to 64) record the effects of the famine that hit Madrid in 1811–12, before the city was liberated from the French. The final 17 reflect the bitter disappointment of liberals when the restored Bourbon monarchy, encouraged by the Catholic hierarchy, rejected the Spanish Constitution of 1812 and opposed both state and religious reform. Goya’s scenes of atrocities, starvation, degradation and humiliation have been described as the “prodigious flowering of rage” The serial nature in which the plates unfold has led some to see the images as similar in nature to photography.
Eric William Ravilious (1903 – 1942) was an English painter, designer, book illustrator and wood engraver. He grew up in East Sussex, and at the Royal College of Art (1922–5) was taught by Paul Nash and became close friends with Edward Bawden. In 1939 he officially served as a war artist, and died when the aircraft he was in was lost off Iceland.
He is particularly known for his watercolours of the South Downs, empty rooms and war paintings. His use of watercolour and limited muted palette to capture light, often overlaid by crayon lines, has a beautiful shimmering quality. He uses exaggerated perspectives, unusual viewpoints and abstract shapes to create drama, suspense and movement. The effect is often haunting – reflecting a mix of nostalgia and foreboding in the world destroyed by the war.
CONSTABLE, F. & SIMON, S. 2003. The England of Eric Ravillious, Surrey, UK, Lund Humphrey.
Dulwich Picture Gallery exhibition 2015
Selected images to music
His use of two point perspective – slightly off – creates a feeling of claustrophobia, uncertainty and unease. The eye goes first towards the bed, strangely reflected in the ceiling of a windowless room. But then is taken down the empty corridor that appears to go upwards to nowhere and round a corner to the light. Is this an escape? Or a dead-end to nowhere? Or worse?