The National Museum of Art of Romania (MNAR) hosts an exhibition displaying 82 engravings of the famous series “Disasters of War” by Spanish painter Francisco de Goya during 1810-1820, depicting scenes from the war against Napoleon’s troops (the Spanish War of Independence 1808-1814).
According to a press communiqué, Goya’s etching plates denounce the horrors of war: its cruelty, fanaticism terror, injustice, suffering and death. His unbiased attitude in depicting the atrocities committed by both camps involved in the conflict transforms the creative act into one of protest, of condemnation of war, unprecedented in the history of art. Along with Goya’s engravings, there are exhibited photographs from the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) shot by such reputed photographers including Robert Capa, David Seymour, Gerda Taro, Augusti Centelles and Alfonso Sanchez, and countless local and anonymous counterparts.This association is meant to extend Goya’s denouncement to this day, to identity in photographer’s discourse echoes of Goya’s attitude to armed conflicts, the release states. Aside from the undisputed artistic value and technical features, the “Disasters” series have a testimonial value: (“I saw it”, “That’s how it happened”, such are the titles of some of the plates), a chronicle of real events. Such visually striking plates bear features anticipating the aesthetics of press photographs: avoidance of complex compositions, catching impromptu images, the presence of black and empty zones whose role is to focus attention on the image section containing the main information. The etching plates are grouped into seen sections: the front, victims, executions, exodus and plunders, hunger, the woman in war and the post-war period – a criticism of the absolutist regime of Ferdinand VII.Photographs have been selected from the vast photography collection of the Spanish Civil War that match the thematic groupings in Goya’s plates, with the purpose of highlighting the universal power of the images in the “Disasters of War” series – a precursor of the photographic chronicles of later wars, MNAR says.The MNAR exhibition is opened December 2, 2012 – January 27, 2013. The visiting days and hours are Wednesdays thru Sunday, 10.00 am – 6.00 pm. Admission is free on the first Wednesday of the month.