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Great Artists Play Politics: Goya, Degas, and Picasso

And They Are Like Wild Beasts

Jerrilynn D. Dodds, Dean, Sarah Lawrence College

Some of the most powerful paintings of the past two centuries were created in direct response to contemporary political crises. These works were animated by the urgency of the political dialogue of their times. But the same artistic intensity that grew from a particular political climate of the past can make a painting transcend its historical moment. In this way, a masterwork can bear potent witness to its political dialogue centuries later, with uncanny connections to the politics of our own times.

Today's Topic:
The Dreyfus Affair: Zola, Degas, and Anti-Semitism in French Political Life

This series is supported by the Mrs. Joseph H. King Fund.

Above: Goya (Francisco de Goya y Lucientes) (Spanish 1746–1828). And they are like wild beasts (Y son fieras), from The Disasters of War (Los Desastres de la Guerra), plate 5, 1810–20, published 1863. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Rogers Fund and Jacob H. Schiff Bequest, 1922 (22.60.25[5])

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