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Beautiful Deaths – Witness

These are Goya’s Disasters of War, a series of 82 prints made between 1810 and 1820 that show the horrors of war and its aftermath during the Spanish Napoleonic Wars. They are etchings, not photographs, but they are complete in their depiction of atrocity; there is death, mutilation, torture, execution, rape, pillage, starvation, sorrow, disgust and despair in unflinching detail. They show the effect of war on the civilian population and, in his etchings of the aftermath of the war and the restoration of a flawed monarchy and church, the ways in which suffering, corruption and war are linked to wider structures of power.