In Grande hazaña! Con muertos! [A heroic feat! With dead men!], Goya depicts three corpses tied to a tree. One of them has had his arms and head removed. His head has been skewered onto one branch, while his extremities hang from the wrists on another. Next to it, a second corpse has been tied to the trunk of the tree with a rope around his waist and his arms placed behind its torso. At its side there is a third lifeless body whose legs have also been tied to the tree and whose head rests on the ground.
The human remains have been distributed around the tree with an almost aesthetic criterion. Goya represented the mutilated anatomies meticulously, even with a marked classicism; the inverted body is reminiscent of the Torso Belvedere sketches in the Italian Notebook.
Goya’s gaze is one of clarity; but also of cruelty, misery, hunger, torture and death. He bypasses the traditional strategy of praising the hero figure in an effort to portray instead a relentless reality. This print highlights a common practice in war: the mutilation of corpses in order to strip them of any trace of dignity, especially when dealing with the bodies of traitors.