The garrotte

After Goya’s Disasters, we move on to look at a colourful work by the Barcelonese painter, Ramón Casas. It shows the execution of a 21-year-old man, Aniceto Peinador, by the walls of the old prison in Barcelona, on 12th July 1890.

The artist’s discrete social purpose can be seen in the way he has avoided the traditional historicist style of painting that prevailed at the time. At the same time, the composition provides an almost photographic depiction of the observer’s point of view, so that no single figure is the main focus of the scene, which is eloquent in itself.

The prison yard and the shadowy figures around it are framed by the straight lines of rows of soldiers and the prison wall itself. In sharp contrast to this, the lower edge of the picture is taken up by an undefined crowd, waiting expectantly for what is about to take place.

The diffused light and simple lines are typical features of Ramón Casas’ work. He portrayed urban crowds in everyday scenes as well as during the workers protests of the early 20th century. The aim of the Modernist movement to which he belonged was to express ideas that went beyond the industrial and technological progress that was being made at the time.

(c) (R) 2012, MUSMon com S.L.