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Temporary Installation: Constitutional ideas in Goya's work

Museo Nacional del Prado. Madrid 5/10/2012 - 9/17/2012

An eloquent witness of his times, in some of his works Goya interpreted subjects associated with the social and political reforms arising from the constitutional programme first proposed in the Statute of Bayonne of 1808 (a letter addressed to the Spanish people by Napoleon) and shortly afterwards in the 1812 Constitution. The latter was popularly known as La Pepa as it was passed by the Spanish parliament on 19 March, Saint Joseph's day (in Spanish Pepe is short for José), on the Isla del León in Cadiz.

In some of his Album C drawings Goya, who lived in Madrid during the Peninsular War (1808-14), depicted scenes that reflect some of the key ideas expressed in the Statute and the Constitution. These images indicate his enormously positive reaction to the reforms and their consequences.

The return to Spain of Ferdinand VII in 1814 resulted in the abolition of the Constitution and the repression of its supporters and those who had allied themselves with the French. In the final prints of the Disasters of War series Goya symbolically expressed the abrupt disappearance of these new liberties: the end of national sovereignty, of the separation of powers and of uncensored press and publishing industry.

Access

Room 38. Villanueva Building

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Artworks

14

Project for a political Constitution of the Spanish Monarchy: presented to the Cortes Generales y Extraordinarias by its preparatory Committee

Library of Museo Nacional del Prado

15

Political Constitution of the Spanish Monarchy: enacted in Cadiz on 19 March 1812

Cádiz: Royal print, 1812

Library of Museo Nacional del Prado

16

[Royal Decree by which no sentence imposed, for whatever the crime, should in any way apply to the family of the person sentenced, but only to that person who has merited it]

1813

Library of Museo Nacional del Prado

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