4/16/11 Francisco Goya, The Third of May, 1808 p. 327 Visual Elements A. Line-There are actual lines in this painting from the rifles toward the man holding his hands up. When looking at this painting you view quickly from the right to the left and can almost feel the inevitable execution. There is also a line in the sand separating the light from the dark. Seems to be imply between the good of the Spaniards who are about to be executed, from the evil hooded men who are shooting. I believe that there is an implied line between the end of the gun and the man with his arms up.
It is giving an action that you can almost feel the gunshot from the barrel executing the man. Especially how when looking from right to left it goes from dark to light, like the gun has been fired. B. )Shape-The geometric shape of the lantern stands out to me right away. Its rectangular shape and the triangle shape of the light which it creates draw my eye in this painting. It seems to paint a positive light on the people that are about to be executed. There are many more geometric shapes in this painting than organic.
The organic shapes that I see are the rounded hill in the background and the contours that are created in the sand. These two in the painting are good examples of biomorphic shapes. C. )Mass-The mass is implied here and is created by the forms of the captives. They seem to go in all directions here with their arms and the way each is bent. It really creates urgency that they are about to be shot. There is no actual mass in this painting as this is seen in 3-dimensional art. It is the physical bulk of a solid body of material. You can only consider the paint and the canvas as actual mass here.
D. )Space-This is the most difficult to convey for an artist. The two-dimensional space here is the painting surface with its height and width. The implied depth here is the hill in the background creating the feeling that the men cannot escape their impeding death. Then you also see the town in the background giving reference that the men are on the beach away from town. There is overlapping of the men in front of the hill and the hill in front of the town. This gives us the impression of depth that the men are much closer than the town is.
I also see vertical placement by the men lying on the ground dying in the bottom right and how he appears to be closer than anyone else. By placing him low he seems to be much closer than the town much higher on the plane. I also see diminishing size in the soldiers that are about to execute the men. The man closest to the viewer is the biggest and they gradually diminish in size as they move up the plane. It gives me the sense of increasing distance between them. Perspective- I see linear perspective with the vanishing point in the background where the land and the sky meet.
I also see a vanishing point where the hill meets the men that are witnessing the execution. There is one more vanishing point where the sand meets the hill. Goya does a good job in this painting of creating a one-point perspective. Everything seems to get smaller as you look up the painting. I see some atmospheric/aerial perspective in this painting in the background with the hill, town, and the sky. There is a diminished color quality between them and the contrast between light and dark is reduced in the background compared with the foreground. E. Time and Motion- Here Goya represented this in the fact that the soldiers are about to fire on the men. You get the feeling that they are going to be shot which is in the present. Others are nearby who will be shot in the future. There are also the men lying around that have already been shot given the impression of the past. The implied motion is the man who is praying, the man throwing his hands up in defiance, and the man with his hands placed in his face. All of these imply that they are about to be shot any moment. I do not see any examples of actual motion within this painting.
F. )Light- Here Goya did a great job and this was a very important aspect of his painting. He uses the lantern as the source of light and the core of this painting. It is a dark night and this creates the inhuman horror of what is about to happen. The lantern lights up the faces of the victims and shows the emotions of the men that are about to be shot. He uses value in the darkness of the soldiers to symbolize the evil which they are about to commit. Then the tone is shown in white of the bravery of the man who defiantly puts his hands up before he is shot.
We can really feel the massacre that is about to unfold. Goya choice of light and the intensity of it affect our mood and how we view this painting. The dark colors and lack of light on the soldiers really makes us dislike them as we see the sinister act they are about to commit. There are shadows within this painting where Goya has used light as a medium. G. )Color- I believe that color is important in this piece. They are mostly earth tones in this painting. The lantern is white and is beaming light toward the victims about to be shot.
The man raising his hands is also wearing, both symbolizing the pureness and innocence of what is about to happen. The soldiers are wearing dark hoods and you cannot see their faces so they are unidentifiable for killing these men. The use of color in the Third of May suggest a mood that the viewer will feel. H. ) Texture- I see actual texture in the faces of the dead men compared to the men about to be shot. The men lying on the ground seem to be pale, as life has left them. The men that are about to be shot still have color to them, life still in them.
The implied texture that I see is that the men about to be shot seem to be softer and more human like then the harder robotic like soldiers that are about to shoot. Principles of Design A. )Unity- I do not see any use of unity within this painting. I see variety in this painting in the movements in the men that are about to be shot. I also see the variety in the colors of clothing that the men about to be shot are wearing. This variety brings them to life, gives them character, and makes them human so that we can relate to them. I can feel their emotion of what they are about to go through.
I think Goya used some pattern in the use of light and dark not only in color but what they represent. He also uses triangles in the light radiating from the lantern and the man holding up his hands. B. ) Balance- To me I see an asymmetrical balance in this painting. The lantern is the sole light source in this painting and seems to be the tipping point of balance. From here it creates a balance of light and dark within the painting. On the right side are the soldiers whose identity is concealed in the shadows. On the left are the men who are about to be shot and clearly in the spotlight.
The main in the white with his hands up seems to be heavier than anyone else in the painting. Him along with the other men are lit up and bring life to the painting and make them seem more attractive to the viewer. They are cast in warmer colors then the soldiers. C. ) Emphasis and Subordination- The focal point in this painting is the man in white with his hands up in the air. Goya is trying to draw our attention to this man and the men surrounding him and what is about to take place. From the gun barrel you follow an imaginary line directly to the man that is about to be shot.
The light from the lantern also help create the emphasis on this man. The town in the background or maybe it is a church creates the subordination and focus on the man in white. The town or church is not important as to what is going on in this picture or I believe what is going on in that time period. The dark colors keep you focused on the man raising his arms. D. ) Directional forces- I see directional forces from the gun barrel to the focal point of the man in white holding his hands up. I see another directional line in the sand that seems to be separating the men who are to be shot from the soldiers.
It gives the impression of good vs. evil especially with the use of light. I also see a line from the hill across the painting and how it gives the idea that they are in a small space. E. ) Contrast- I see contrast in this painting of the man in white creating a visual interest and expressing the content. He is shed in the light while the surrounding is cast in dark colors. The men about to be shot seem soft in contrast to the hard soldiers that are about to do the shooting. I can see the faces of the men about to be shot in contrast to the hidden identity of the soldiers.
F. ) Repetition and Rhythm- I can see repetition in the soldiers and how they each see lifeless or robotic. It seems to give them a sense of unity with one another. The rhythm that I see is that each soldier seems to lean forward in unison. They seem to be a well trained army in the way that they work together. G. ) Scale and Proportion- The scale of the painting makes it seems as we are actually watching this take place instead of viewing a painting. It is more of a picture then a painting. The scale of the men in the painting seems to be in relation to one another.
The proportion of the painting seems to be in proper relation to each other. The size of the town in the background is bigger than the men and still placed at the top of the plane to seem further away. If they were closer I would assume that it would be bigger still. The men in the painting also seem to be in proportion to that of the soldiers. And the small group in the background seems to be smaller than those in the foreground. Analysis I think that Goya did a great job in his content of The Third of May, 1808. He clearly expressed what he was feeling at the time period with this painting.
Goya humanized the Spanish victims to that of their French captors during this time period. He showed that the uprising was ruthlessly suppressed and the French used firing squads to execute many. Goya was able to express visually the context between hatred and compassion. He was able to create great emotion for the view and let each really feel what is about to happen. It was a dark painting that depicts death and horror and the tragic side of mankind. This is now one of my favorite paintings and I really enjoyed getting to view and dissect it.