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The war

Esto es peor (« Even worse »)

Plates 1 to 47 mainly depict the horrors of war against the French. They show the aftermath of the battle, including mutilated torsos and limbs mounted on trees like 'fragments of a marble sculpture'. Both French and Spanish troops tortured and mutilated prisoners, and evidence of this is meticulously detailed in many of the prints. The deaths of civilians are also captured in detail. Spanish women were frequently subjected to assault and rape. Civilians would often trail armies to the battlefields. If their side emerged victorious, women and children would search the battlefields for male relatives. If they lost, they would flee for fear of being raped or murdered.

Create a description of an illustration using idiomatic expressions and vocabulary to describe emotions and dramatic scenes.


"Ladies and gentlemen, imagine yourself plunged into the darkness of Print no 37: Esto es peor, a blood-curdling vision of horror. Silence, heavy with menace, echoes over the canvas of violence. The scene opens with a sinister tree bearing the macabre burden of an impaled Spanish soldier. The mutilated body, a symbol of the indescribable cruelty of war, seems to howl its silent pain into the night. All around, the corpses of French soldiers litter the ground, mute witnesses to the horror that has ravaged this land. The tension is at its height, an invisible threat looms in the shadows, ready to strike. This is the height of horror, with every shocking detail sounding like a macabre symphony. The heavy silence heralds the inevitable, plunging the viewer into an atmosphere that is as unbearable as it is unforgettable."

General Description:

  • The painting evokes a sense of chilling horror.
  • The atmosphere in the picture is incredibly tense and unsettling.
  • Goya masterfully captures the raw and disturbing reality of war.

Facial Expressions:

  • The expressions on the faces of the figures reflect sheer terror and despair.
  • The eyes of the characters seem haunted, conveying a deep sense of fear.
  • The artist skillfully portrays the anguish and panic through the facial features.

Composition and Lighting:

  • The composition intensifies the feeling of chaos and dread.
  • The use of dark, shadowy lighting adds a sinister quality to the scene.
  • The stark contrasts between light and shadow heighten the overall sense of horror.

Body Language:

  • The contorted and anguished postures of the figures suggest extreme suffering.
  • The bodies appear twisted and tormented, emphasizing the physical toll of war.
  • Goya's depiction of the characters' gestures intensifies the feeling of dread.

Details and Symbols:

  • Pay attention to the gruesome details, like the scattered limbs and destroyed landscapes.
  • Symbolic elements, such as the use of blood and gore, contribute to the overall sense of horror.
  • Goya employs symbolism to convey the brutality of war, making it a truly harrowing experience.

Background and Setting:

  • The bleak and desolate background amplifies the feeling of hopelessness.
  • The setting appears post-apocalyptic, emphasizing the aftermath of a catastrophic event.
  • Goya's choice of setting creates an environment that is both eerie and distressing.

Impact on the Viewer:

  • As you look at the painting, you can't help but feel a knot of tension in your stomach.
  • The sheer brutality depicted makes it difficult to turn away, forcing the viewer to confront the harsh realities of war.
  • Goya's work leaves a lasting impression, provoking a deep emotional response from anyone who views it.


  • What emotions does this narration evoke in you?
  • How does the use of idiomatic expressions enhance the drama of the scene?
  • What specific details of the illustration have been highlighted in this narration?
  • How does this print capture the essence of Goya's "Disasters of War"?
  • How do the language choices contribute to an understanding of the horror of war in this presentation?
  • Considering the absence of colour in this series, how does this contribute to Goya's perception of reality?
  • What aspects of Goya's "Disasters of War" seem universal, transcending time, and what elements might be specific to the historical period in which he lived?
  • How can Goya's prints on the horrors of war evoke emotions that are similar to or different from those we feel when we look at images of war today?
  • How does modern technology influence our perception of war today, compared with the way Goya depicted the conflicts of his time?