Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes
Sera lo Mismo (It will be the same)
Etching and burnished lavis printed on paper, working proof for the series Los Desastres de la Guerra (The Disasters of War).
Bought with the help of The Art Fund and the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund, 2005
Goya was at the height of his powers when he created the searingly powerful series of prints, The Disasters of War, but due to the political sensitivity of the subject matter it was never published during his lifetime. This plate was etched early in the series, around 1810, showing one of the atrocities that Goya had recently witnessed as Napoleonic troops rampaged through Spain. He chose not to illustrate the major battles, but recorded the anonymous incidents suffered by the Spanish people at the hands of French troops or of the Spanish traitors, the Josefinos.
This rare working proof shows the vital quality that is missing in the posthumous first edition printed in 1863, which looks flat and grey by comparison. It was printed at an early stage in the development of the plate, before Goya shifted the apparent light source in the picture by burnishing extra highlights in the shading of lavis (tone created by brushing acid directly onto the plate). The margins have not yet been cleaned and Goya has still to alter the numbering of the series to its final arrangement (the number 25 on this plate was subsequently changed to 21). Only five other impressions printed at this stage are known. This was the first print from The Disasters of War to enter the Fitzwilliam Museum's collection, where it joined fine first edition complete sets of Goya's Los Caprichos and La Tauromaquia; a complete set of the 1892 second edition of The Disasters of War was subsequently bequeathed to the Fitzwilliam in 2008 by Eric Chamberlain, former Keeper of Prints in the Museum.