Two emblematic Goyas restored and exposed

To commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Spanish War for Indepence, the Prado Museum will host a major exhibit of Goya's works, including the newly restored masterpieces 'The Second of May, 1808' and 'The Third of May, 1808'.


Two newly restored paintings by Francisco Goya are the highlight of a new exhibition entitled "Goya in Times of War" that opens next week at Madrid's Prado Museum.

The show is one of several events planned in Spain to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the start of the 1808-1814 War of Independence against France and a popular uprising in Madrid against Napoleon's troops on May 2, 1808.

Two of Goya's most emblematic canvases depicting the revolt, "The Second of May, 1808: The Charge of the Mamelukes" and "The Third of May, 1808: The Execution of the Defenders of Madrid", were damaged when they were taken from Madrid to protect them from bombings during the 1936-39 civil war.

The restored and cleaned paintings, both completed in 1814, were presented to the press for the first time Friday.

The worst damage occurred to the Mamelukes painting, while the other had suffered only a slight tear.

The restoration work, which took several months, also revealed the depth of the original colours and luminosity of the works, said Prado director Gabriele Finaldi.

The largest Goya exhibition at the Prado in 15 years is comprised of almost 200 paintings.

They include some of the Spanish artist's most celebrated canvases housed at the museum, such as "The Nude Maja" and "The Family of Charles IV", but also works from private collections and foreign museums that have never previously been shown in Spain.

An official court painter, Goya was influenced by liberal ideas brought to Spain by the French invasion.

Unhappy with the return of royal absolutism under King Ferdinand VII, he left for France in 1824, where he died in Bordeaux four years later, aged 82.

The exhibition runs from April 15 to July 13.

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