Inventory number
P00748
Author
Goya y Lucientes, Francisco de
Title
The 2nd of May 1808 in Madrid or “The Fight against the Mamelukes”
Chronology
1814
Technique
Oil
Support
Canvas
Dimensions
268,5 cm x 347,5 cm
School
Spanish
Theme
History
On display
Yes
Provenance
Royal Collection: Royal Palace, Madrid, 1814; Prado Museum, "Depósito Grande", before 1834

In 1814, Goya addressed the reagent, Cardinal Luis de Bourbon, offering to make works commemorating events from the War of Independence (1808-1812): "to perpetuate, with a paintbrush, the most notable and heroic actions or scenes of our glorious uprising against the tyrant of Europe". The present work depicts the popular riot of 2 May, 1808, when the people of Madrid attacked the Mamelukes —Turkish soliders in Napolean's French Army— who were taking the younger children of Carlos IV and Maria Luisa to France. This was the beginning of the War for Independence.

Along with The Third of May 1808 in Madrid: the executions on Príncipe Pío Hill (P00749), this work may have decorated a triumphal arch that adorned the streets of Madrid during the entry of Fernando VII. It may also have been used during the celebration commemorating the second of May.

The left side still bears the marks of the damage this canvas suffered in 1937 when the Museum's collection was being transferred to the League of Nations in Geneva during the Civil War.

 
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