The Disasters of War. Prints. The Peninsular War.
The violence witnessed by Francisco de Goya during The Peninsular War (1808-1814) led the artist to take up drawing, sketching and prints once again. This type of work, of a private nature, is an effective way for him to express the pain and anguish he feels in the face of the events of war and their effect on the civilian population. Although he never published them during his lifetime, we have access to a complete bound edition which he gave to his friend Ceán Bermúdez before he left for Bordeaux in 1824. The handwritten title of this album reads as follows: “Fatal consequences of Spain's bloody war with Bonaparte, and other emphatic caprices, in 85 prints. Invented, drawn and printed by the original painter Francisco de Goya y Lucientes. In Madrid”. The exact chronological timeline of the execution of the series is unknown, but it is usually dated from between 1810, the date which appears on three of the prints and 1815.
The Disasters of War are comprised of 80 titled plates and several etchings with some in drypoint and gouache, printed in black ink. The set of prints are divided into three groups: the first two groups contain the “disasters of war” themselves, while the third, the “emphatic caprices”, of a more allegorical nature, are understood to be a political reflection on the absolutist government of Ferdinand VII following the end of the war and the withdrawal of the French troops.