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12 / Conflict and Resistance

Y no hai Remedio (And There’s Nothing to Be Done)
Y no hai Remedio (And There’s Nothing to Be Done)
Artist / Origin Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Spanish, 1746–1828)
Region: Europe
Date 1810–23
Material Etching, drypoint, burin, and burnisher
Dimensions H: 5 11/16 (14.5 cm.), W: 5 ½ in. (16.5 cm.)
Location The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Credit Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Harris Brisbane Dick Fund.

expert perspective

Christine GiviskosAssociate Curator, Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum

Additional Resources

Eisenman, Stephen F., ed. Nineteenth Century Art: A Critical History. London and New York: Thames & Hudson, 1994.

Hofer, P., and Francisco Goya. The Disasters of War. Mineola, NY: Dover, 1967.

Hofmann, Werner. Goya. London and New York: Thames & Hudson, 2003.

Rosenblum, Robert. 19th Century Art. New York: Abrams, 1984.

Tomlinson, Janis. Francisco Goya y Lucientes: 1746–1828. London: Phaidon, 1999.

Tomlinson, Janis. Graphic Evolutions: The Print Series of Francisco Goya. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989.

Y no hai Remedio (And There’s Nothing to Be Done)

» Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Spanish, 1746–1828)

Francisco Goya was the official court painter for Spanish King Charles IV until the monarch was removed from the throne during Napoleon’s invasion of Spain in 1808.

That year, the leading general of Spain’s army called upon Goya’s services. The artist was sent to the general’s hometown of Saragossa to record the glories of its citizens in the face of French atrocities. The sketches that Goya began in 1808 and continued to create throughout and after the Spanish War of Independence would eventually result in the print series he called Fatal consequences of the bloody war in Spain with Bonaparte, and other emphatic caprices. Rather than depicting local heroics, however, the Disasters of War, as the series came to be known, focused on the widespread suffering experienced in wartime and the brutality inflicted by both sides during periods of armed conflict.

The Disasters series is comprised of more than eighty etchings, which range from the haunting and stark, to the horrific and grotesque. Y no hai Remedio (And There’s Nothing to Be Done) depicts the hopelessness and despair that the title signals. One prisoner, already executed, lies contorted on the ground at the feet of a bound, blindfolded man awaiting his own death. His executioners are represented only by the barrels of their rifles aiming menacingly from the right-hand edge of the frame. The same scene is multiplied in the background. The raw pessimism and emotional intensity of this and other prints in the series were perhaps too potent for a public audience in the aftermath the war. The Disasters series was not published in its entirety until 1863, several decades after Goya’s death.

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