Yesterday’s British ‘The Independent’ published an article confirming that looting, on the part of US troops and even some journalists, of precious works of art has indeed been taking place in Iraq.

Goya was one of the greatest artists of all time.  His paintings are a priceless document of the history of the Spanish people. He painted the world in which he lived, and he painted it in terms of uncompromising realism. His entire outlook was shaped by great historical events - the French revolution, the Napoleonic wars, the ferocious struggle for national independence and the movement for liberal reform that followed it, a movement that was brutally crushed by the forces of darkness, obscurantism and reaction. This article is part of an important new series by Alan Woods called Art and revolution.

In the second part of his article Alan Woods deals with the profound changes in Goya's paintings in his later years. The Peninsular War transformed the whole situation in Spain overnight - and with it, Goya's art. In place of the sunlight there was darkness, instead of colour, only different shades of black. This impenetrable darkness was only an expression of the all-pervading blackness he saw all around him. The reason for this astonishing transformation cannot be found in art. It is a direct reflection of the processes at work in society.