But the people of Madrid did not give in easily. They rose against Napoleon and his troops, and began, right here in this square, the revolt against them. This is how the Spanish revolt began against the French rule. In Madrid they fought the French with everything they had. Many of the brave fighters were young people. One of them, Manuela Malasaña, a young seamstress, was stopped while she was carrying scissors. The French accused her of carrying scissors, as weapon. The explanations that a seamstress carrying scissors was totally acceptable, were not heard. The French soldiers saw it as a weapon and killed her. The Malasaña district receives its name from the young Manuela, and is named after her to this very day.
Today, May 2nd is a celebrated Spanish holiday. On this day, large bullfights take place, with parades by soldiers, leaving from Puerta del Sol square to Plaza Mayor in the morning. Many of the crowds wear traditional clothes, and in the evening a large parade takes place, of the palace guards from the Royal Palace to the Plaza Mayor. In the square itself there are Opera performances in the Spanish style called Zarzuela, and the crowd continues to celebrate, dance and drink, deep into the night.
In the painting a tough scene is depicted, that occurred after the failing revolt attempt of the residents of Madrid against the French forces. The forces gathered a few hundred residents randomly on the night between May 2nd and 3rd, 1808, and executed them. History tells this is only one of the many mass killings that the French committed during the conquering of Spain.
This was the first painting in history, where a war scene was depicting the victims instead of the winners, and are executed. Goya illustrates the amount of victims by drawing those condemned to death, from the end of the left image, which is also the front of the picture, and deep into the interior and center of the painting, Goya painted only the nearest shoots clearly, while the rest are painted in a blur. On the ground he shows the dead lying in their blood, while the faces of the participants in the French firing squad are invisible. The light of a lamp illuminates the faces of those executed and they surrender to death, covering their eyes or ears. Only one condemned to death, wearing a white shirt that illustrates the purity, stood in the center of the group, his body and face illuminated and highlighted in the painting. He looks straight at his enemies shooting at him, raising his hands, as if at his death.
The famous painter Goya commemorated this revolt not in one painting, but in two famous paintings, the "The Third of May 1808" can be seen in the Prado Museum in Madrid, as well as the "The Second of May 1808."
The prices of beer, by the way, is similar around all the bars around the square.