“Impressions of War” at the Saint Louis Art Museum

The Saint Louis Art Museum will present Impressions of War, an exhibition featuring The Disasters of War, Francisco de Goya’s 80-plate contemplation of war and its aftereffects, as well as additional series of prints by three artists whose works equally respond to the darker side of war and its aftermath.

 

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Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes, Spanish, 1746-1828; plates from portfolio The Disasters of War, 1810-1820, published 1863; etching and lavis; 8 1/2 x 14 1/4 x 1 3/8 inches; Saint Louis Art Museum, The Marian Cronheim Trust for Prints and Drawings 7:2015

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Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes, Spanish, 1746-1828; plates from portfolio The Disasters of War, 1810-1820, published 1863; etching and lavis; 8 1/2 x 14 1/4 x 1 3/8 inches; Saint Louis Art Museum, The Marian Cronheim Trust for Prints and Drawings 7:2015

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Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes, Spanish, 1746-1828; plates from portfolio The Disasters of War, 1810-1820, published 1863; etching and lavis; 8 1/2 x 14 1/4 x 1 3/8 inches; Saint Louis Art Museum, The Marian Cronheim Trust for Prints and Drawings 7:2015

Responding to the French occupation of Spain by Napoleon Bonaparte between 1808 and 1814, The Disasters of War stands as one of the major achievements in the history of European art. Although Goya made the prints between 1810 and 1820, they were not formally published until 1863, more than three decades after his death.

The series broke ground with the intensity of its focus on war’s cruelties, yet the prints also shed light on the bravery of the Spanish people on the ground in the face of foreign occupation.

Impressions of War also includes print series by three other artists in France, Germany, and the United States from the 17th to the 21st centuries in which the artists respond—as Goya did—on a personal rather than an official level.

The artist’s fearless and personal approach to the topic of war sets it apart from official military imagery celebrating triumphs on the battlefield or the deaths of great generals. Instead, some plates concentrate on unmentionable brutality between soldiers and civilians as evidenced by the harrowing display in This is Worse, while others highlight the heroism of individuals, such as in Neither do These, in which women resist sexual attacks from the enemy.

“The Impressions of War”
Aug. 5 through Feb. 12, 2017
Saint Louis Art Museum
Saint Louis, MO

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