Contra el bien general (c. 1810) by Francisco Goya

Contra el bien general - Francisco Goya - c.1810 - c.1815

Artwork Information

TitleContra el bien general
ArtistFrancisco Goya
Datec.1810 - c.1815
Dimensions17.7 x 22.1 cm
Art MovementRomanticism
Current LocationEtching and burnisher

About Contra el bien general

The artwork entitled “Contra el bien general” was created by the illustrious Spanish artist Francisco Goya approximately between the years 1810 and 1815. This etching, rendered on paper with dimensions of 17.7 by 22.1 centimeters, belongs to the renowned series “The Disasters of War” and falls within the Romanticism art movement. As a genre, it leans towards caricature, employing etching and burnisher techniques, which were common in Goya’s body of work during this period.

The artwork presents a profound visual commentary, characteristic of Goya’s critical style, and showcases his adeptness in utilizing the etching medium to convey powerful themes. A central figure dominates the composition, bearing the semblance of a grotesque creature with bat-like wings, vehemently absorbed in reading from a large book. This sinister being apparently personifies corruption or evil intent, reflecting on the title’s suggestion of action against the common good. Surrounding the central entity, one can discern the presence of other figures shrouded in less detail, possibly signifying the wider societal impact or the complicit audience to the foregrounded misconduct.

Goya’s work, through this piece within “The Disasters of War” collection, is widely recognized for its critical social and political undertones, particularly for its denunciation of the violence and foolishness of human nature during times of conflict. The stark contrast of light and shadow in this artwork, the dramatic poses, and the intense expressions all serve to emphasize the emotionally charged atmosphere that Romanticism embraced. It stands as a formidable visual statement on the consequences of actions that are “against the general good,” harshly critiquing the moral degradation evident in such circumstances.

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