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Goya's Paintings Travel Around Madrid for the Celebration of the 2nd of May
A truck moves paintings made by Goya during the celebration of the festivities of the 2nd of May. EFE / Mondelo


MADRID.- Only on a few occasions have the Goyas in the custody of the Prado Museum left their galleries. Yesterday, during the afternoon, one of those times happened when the famous painter, placed by actor Cales Canut, gave six of his Works of art (The Third of May, 1808, The Nude Maja, The Clothed Maja, The Family of Charles IV, Queen Maria on Horseback,) to the mayor, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, as a starting point for the spectacle 6 Goya 6, created by Pere Pinyol to conmemorate the 200th anniversary of the 2nd of May.

The mayor, dressed in 19th century cloak and with a conciliatory spirit assured that this symbolic act was not made to step on the french to remember the urpisal against Napoleon.

The handing over of the works of art, digital reproductions on canvas and frames similar to the original are the first step of the celebrations starting today.

Napoleon I of France declared himself First Consul of the French Republic on February 18, 1799, and Emperor of Europe later that year. Because Spain controlled access to the Mediterranean, the country was politically and strategically important to French interests. The reigning Spanish sovereign, Charles IV, was internationally regarded as ineffectual. Even in his own court he was seen as a "half-wit king who renounces cares of state for the satisfaction of hunting", and a cuckold unable to control his energetic wife, Maria Luisa of Parma. Napoleon took advantage of the weak king by suggesting the two nations conquer and divide Portugal, with France and Spain each taking a third of the spoils, and the final third going to the Spanish Prime Minister Manuel de Godoy, along with the title Prince of the Algarve. Godoy was seduced, and accepted the French offer. He failed, however, to grasp Napoleon's true intentions, and was unaware that his new ally and co-sovereign, the former king's son Ferdinand VII of Spain, was using the invasion merely as a ploy to seize the Spanish parliament and throne. Ferdinand intended not only that Godoy be killed during the impending power struggle, but also that the lives of his own parents be sacrificed.

Under the guise of reinforcing the Spanish armies, 23,000 French troops entered Spain unopposed in November 1807. Even when France's intentions became clear the following February, the occupying forces found little resistance apart from isolated actions in disconnected areas, including Saragossa. Napoleon's principal commander, Marshall Joachim Murat, believed that Spain would benefit from rulers more progressive and competent than the Bourbons, and Napoleon's brother Joseph Bonaparte was to be made king. After Napoleon convinced Ferdinand to return Spanish rule to Charles IV, the latter was left with no choice but to abdicate, on March 19, 1808, in favor of Joseph Bonaparte.

Although the Spanish people had accepted foreign monarchs in the past, they were deeply resentful of the new French rule. On May 2, 1808, provoked by news of the planned removal to France of the last members of the Spanish royal family, the people of Madrid rebelled in the Dos de Mayo Uprising. A proclamation issued that day to his troops by Marshall Murat read: "The population of Madrid, led astray, has given itself to revolt and murder. French blood has flowed. It demands vengeance. All those arrested in the uprising, arms in hand, will be shot."








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