Categories
Art History

The Weapons In Goya’s May 3 Painting

Recently while studying Goya’s painting May 3, 1808 I got this terrible feeling that I was missing something or that something was wrong and I couldn’t see what it was.
Here is Goya’s painting 3 May. It shows random civilians being executed after French troops were attached the day before.

I stared at the picture for along while and then it struck me, their stance looked all wrong.
Now those soldiers are members Napoleon’s Old Guard who were veterans so they knew what they were doing.
Why was the stance wrong? Well lets look at the soldier closest to us

He is leaning forward, holding a musket with the bayonet fixed. He has to be unbalanced and his head is tilted forward rather than sideways.

I checked all the literature I could find. No mention of the soldiers weapons in Goya’s painting on the internet. Nothing in the art books immediately to hand.

So? Maybe I am wrong. Maybe the weapon was light, no recoil, easily handled. I went hunting for the weapon used by the Napoleonic forces. And then things got worse.

The weapon in the picture was carried by all French forces up till the middle of the 19th Century. It was mass produced and named the Charleville 1777. Interesting aside, it was used extensively in the USA until the Winchester replaced it.
It is a front loading, flint lock musket and when it is fired a huge plume of fire rises out of the weapon. Wearing that hat, the soldier would have scorched his eyebrows, if he was lucky.
I found a youtube video of a modern French man firing a Charleville. Note the motorbike in the picture.
I slowed the video down and got this image.

The stance is more upright, the head tilted back and away from the flame which is not what the soldiers in the Goya painting are doing.
What did surprise me is the lack of recoil and little upward kick.

Manet did a painting of the execution of Maximilian in Mexico, one of Napoleons more spectacularly failed expeditions. Manet was more precise in his painting, a tribute to Goya.

Categories
Art Sculpture

Sand Sculptures on Camps Bay Beach

During a visit to Camps Bay Beach we stumbled across these two guys making sand sculptures. Really good looking work

Categories
Art Sculpture

Owl Carving – Yellow Wood

We have a Cape Yellow Wood tree in the front yard and we had to trim it some time back. I kept some of the thicker branches, let them dry out and then stated carving. This owl emerged.

Categories
Art

Pastels!

I love working in pastels. And yes, I know it is isn’t Christmas, but I just finished it and wanted to share it.

Categories
Art

Collage

I wanted to enter an art competition and decided on a photo collage. I grabbed photos from my various albums and concocted an image which I called Walking into Twilight. It did not make the grade. Oh well, better luck next time

Categories
Art

East Cape Painting

I was requested to do a painting a of a group of women in the Eastern Cape. I agreed, not realising the complexity of the task.

Well, the women are painted, it is just the background and now I am not sure how to proceed.

It is that huge mountain in the background that is the problem. I have several ideas, but am battling. Oh well, I will sort it out eventually.

Categories
Art GIFs

And the world is like an apple

Whirling silently in space.

Categories
Art Cape Town

Casspir Project – SA National Gallery

Amanda and I ended up going to the SANG today and found the most amazing military vehicle. A Casspir, completely covered in bead work with a Bible quotation to justify the work. Absolutely beautiful, and in another sense horrible.
You decide.
Photo credits to Amanda and I as I am not sure who shot which image.

But first a description of the art work by the gallery

 

Categories
Art

No Inspiration – Creative Block

The recent death of Judith Mason reminded me of and image she created Not Being Able to Paint in 1992 and it reminded me of the blank moments in my creative career. She sits facing us, hands over-sized, thumbs on the wrong side of her hands, eyes closed, almost grown over with skin, almost unable to move. So RIP Judith Mason who expressed without words the horror of creative block.