The University of Iowa

ESG lecture examines the paintings of Goya during the Peninsular War

March 7th, 2019

The European Studies Group will present a guest lecture by Janis A. Tomlinson of the University of Delaware on "Goya: The War Years 1808-1814" at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 27, in 116 Art Building West.  The event is free and open to the public.

The Peninsular War pitted Spain (and her ally, England) against Napoleonic forces that by 1810 had occupied almost the entire country, as the emperor’s brother Joseph Bonaparte occupied the Spanish throne. The artist Francisco Goya y Lucientes, sixty-two years old at the outbreak of the war, remained in Madrid from 1809 onward. Discussions of his activity during this period focus almost exclusively on the etchings to become known as Los Desastres de la Guerra (The Disasters of War) and on the paintings of the Second and Third of May 1808 created in 1814. 

Goya’s creativity during these years was in fact far more wide-ranging, including satires and still-lifes as well as portraits of the French occupiers and the future Duke of Wellington. An examination of these works, set against the background of wartime Madrid, broadens our understanding of Goya’s war, and of the context for his iconic etchings and scenes of The Second and Third of May 1808. 

Janis A. Tomlinson is director of the University Museums at the University of Delaware and also serves as curator of exhibitions in Old College Gallery, where she has developed numerous exhibitions drawing from the university’s collections of paintings and works on paper, as well as loan exhibitions ranging from Etruscan antiquities to contemporary art. 

Dr. Tomlinson’s scholarly expertise is the art of Spain, with particular emphasis on Francisco Goya y Lucientes. Her books include Francisco Goya: The Tapestry Cartoons and Early Career at the Court of Madrid (1989), Goya in the Twilight of Enlightenment (1992), Francisco Goya y Lucientes (2nd edition, 1999) and Painting in Spain 1561-1828 (3rd printing, 2012); her books have been translated into Spanish, German, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and Thai. She was the U.S. curator for Goya: Images of Women (Museo del Prado/National Gallery of Art, 2001-2), and has contributed as consultant, author, or lecturer to exhibitions of Goya’s work throughout the U.S., France, Spain, Germany, and Mexico. She was lead author of the catalogue for Goya: Order/Disorder (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 2014).

Before becoming the first director of museums at the University of Delaware in 2003, Dr. Tomlinson was director of exhibitions and cultural programs at the National Academy of Sciences where she curated over twenty exhibitions focusing on the interrelation of sciences and the visual arts, including The Beauty of Phenomena: Art in the Communication of Science (also seen at the New York Hall of Sciences), and The Art of Neuroscience: Image and Understanding, featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition. Prior to her work at the Academy, Tomlinson held the Clark Professorship at Williams College and was also associate professor at Columbia University. Her awards include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the American Council of Learned Societies.

This event is sponsored by UI International Programs, the UI European Studies Group, and the UI Department of Art History

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Luis Martin-Estudillo in advance at, or 319-335-2229.