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- Thomas Gainsborough
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CARLOS IV AND HIS FAMILY A large family group of twelve figures in a room, all standing bolt upright, in a strong light from the front. In the centre the Queen in a low-necked dress, her right arm over the shoulder of a young daughter, her left extended straight downwards holding the hand of a small boy. To the right the King in court dress covered with decorations, three-quarters left, with right foot slightly advanced. Behind him to right a tall Prince and his wife with a child in her arms. On the left a shorter Prince - the Crown Prince, afterwards Ferdinand VII - and a tall Princess, behind whom an old lady and a youth. Beyond the head of the Crown Prince is dimly seen that of the painter himself. Two large pictures on the wall behind.
MAJA VESTIDA A young woman lying on a couch.
MAJA DESNUDA The same woman lying nude on a couch, her body and head supported by large pillows, her arms bent back with the hands behind the head, which is to our right.
THE THIRD OF MAY, 1808 On the right a row of six or seven French soldiers in shakos and long coats aim their muskets, with bayonets fixed, at a group of five peasants, who kneel crouched together in front of a hill which rises to the left on the corpses of the last batch. Between these two groups in the middle distance another batch is approaching, hiding their faces in their hands. In the background, under a dark sky, the buildings of the city are seen. The figures are brilliantly lighted by a huge square lantern placed on the ground near the centre in front of the soldiers, especially the despairing figure of one of the victims with outstretched arms in a yellow shirt.
This picture and its companion, No. 748, Episode in the French Invasion-which is of less dramatic interest-relate to Murat's vengeance for the people's sudden outbreak against the Imperial Guard when they heard that Prince Francisco was being carried away to France.
"It is the last point which painting can reach before being translated into action; having passed that point, one throws away the brush and seizes the dagger... after those colours comes blood." (De Amicis.)
( Originally Publihed 1910 )