This peer-reviewed essay was invited as part of a special issue of Arts, A Ten-Year Journey of Arts, edited by Prof. Michelle Facos, Department of Art History, Indiana University.
This is the first essay-length study of this monumental Spanish painting in English, which memorializes the execution of the liberal General José María de Torrijos and his Companions on the beaches at Málaga in 1831, after a failed attempt to stir a revolution to topple the despotic Ferdinand VII. The painting is considered to be the greatest work by Antonio Gisbert Pérez, an artist who has received renewed attention since the painting’s permanent reinstallation in the Prado, Madrid, in 2007. A pivotal example of the Spanish visual culture of war, and remarkable for its innovative composition and sensitive portrayal of Torrijos and his men, the painting also depicts the Byronic, Northern Irish-born Robert Boyd, active in the final years (1830–1831) of the Greek War of Independence and who was inspired by Torrijos’ cause. This essay introduces new material that builds on existing Spanish-led research, offering a detailed analysis of the painting’s content and composition within its historical context. Read the essay on the Arts website.