José Casado del Alisal: The Surrender at Bailén (1864)

(Museo del Prado, Madrid, Spain)

This historypainting shows the aftermath of the Battle of Bailén (16–19 July 1808) during the Peninsular War. In this battle, the French general Pierre-Antoine, comte Dupont de l'Étang, was forced to surrender his entire force of about 18,000 men to the Spanish general Francisco Javier Castaños (see here in white uniform). When in June 1808 a large scale rebellion broke out in Spain against the Spanish occupying troops, several French armies were deployed to pacify the region. The French genral Pierre-Antoine, comte Dupont de l'Étang was send with 20,000 troops to pacify the Southern part of Spain. The French troops were stretched out across several villages which the Spanish army attacked at several points. Eventually the Spanish army managed to split the French army, trapping the French. After three French attempts failed to break out, Pierre-Antoine, comte Dupont de l'Étang called for an armistice  and was forced to surrender his remaining forces. This defeat was a heavy blow against the myth of the Napoleonic invincibility and inspired many enemies of Napoleon to rise up. In Spain, the French armies send to pacify the rebellious regions quickly collapesed and Napoleon was forced to intervene personally, leading to a long war of attrition in Spain. This painting is from 1864.

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