Inside USD

Goya’s Disasters of War

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Between 1810 and 1820, Spanish artist Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828) created the Disasters of War series, a set of 80 prints created through the etching and aquatint processes. Often arresting and horrific, the subjects for these prints arose from Goya’s  direct encounter with the effects of the Peninsular War in Spain. Due to the disturbing nature of these prints and their tacit challenge to authority, the series was not published until 1863, thirty-five years after the artist’s death. Thanks to a generous gift from Robert and Karen Hoehn, this landmark in the history of printmaking serves as a cornerstone of USD’s permanent collection.

Goya’s Disasters series participates in a tradition of the visual representations of the horrors and traumas, as well as the glories and triumphs, associated with  war. Following the precedent of 17th-century French etcher Jacques Callot, who depicted in unflinching detail the destruction and human cost of war, Goya documented the violence of war and, at times, its more gruesome aftermath.

Artists working today continue to develop the themes that Callot and Goya so dramatically engaged. The current exhibition features invited student responses to Goya that testify in their different ways to the power of Goya’s legacy. Goya’s subtle use of printmaking techniques, his combination of text and image, and his innovative treatment of the subject of of war all continue to provoke and challenge the artists and art enthusiasts of today.

– Victoria Sancho Lobis, PhD

Sancho Lobis is curator of USD’s Print Collection and Fine Art Galleries.

The exhibit in the Robert and Karen Hoehn Family Galleries in Founders Hall runs through May 27. Hours for the exhbit are noon to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday and noon to 6 p.m., Thursday.

There will also be weekly gallery talks for the exhibition. For information on these go to or call (619) 260-7516.

Homepage Image: Y esto tambien (And this too)

This page: Tristes presentimientos de lo que ha de acontecer
(Sad forebodings of what is to come)

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