Critics and Critiques

This year I have been given the privilege to teach 12th grade Art, wherein some of its students had studied under me back when they were in 1st grade. Today, we were talking about one of the principles of design, which is “emphasis” and by doing so, I introduced them to Spanish painter Francisco de Goya. 

After giving them a brief socio–historical background about his famous painting “The Third of May 1808,” I asked the students to do a critique on the artwork, using the same critiquing framework I introduced them to previously. Here are excerpts of their write–ups, which totally blew me away because their analyses and interpretations were quite spot on, if not very clever! On a side note, all of them are second language learners. That is why I am so very proud of them and was thrilled to read their thoughts on this outstanding art piece!


Francisco de Goya. “The Third of May 1808.”


“France has power. [Rebels] should be executed. “ –  Dongil

“Goya wants to show the war’s fearfulness.”–  Sangmi

“We can identify the most with the Spanish people who are trying to hide their faces, which means they are afraid to die.” – Minsung

“The artist uses a bright yellow colour and white to make us focus on the man with white shirt.” – Serenade

“The white shirt man probably represents the country that is giving up, as well as the men who are giving up.” – May

“The background is black/dark colour and it gives off a feeling of danger and fear.” – Lita

“Goya let the men face us and the French soldiers show their back to us. I think the painter did this on purpose to make us sympathize with the Spanish.” – Hana

“Even though the soldiers are wearing fur clothes, the crowd is not covered with warm clothes and I guess they must be poor and innocent. I think there is no way to escape.”  – Cherry

“The artist painted the hill bright yellow. The man who put up his arms is painted with a white shirt and yellow pants. Ironically, the lamp is also painted the same colors as the rebel in the center.  …He is representing the light, the good. The different colors and textures of the ground separated the soldiers and the rebels. This indicates the border between them, France and Spain.” – Ny

“This picture shows that no matter how horrible it is, they will always do what they believe.” – Sambo


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