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Prints - Spanish 17th - 19th Century

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El Cid Campeador lanceando otro toro [The Cid Campeador Spearing another Bull], plate 11 from La Tauromaquia

1815-1816 (p. 1855)
19th century
30.8 cm x 41.4 cm (12 1/8 in. x 16 5/16 in.)

Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (aka Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes) (Fuendetodos, Spain, 1746 - 1828, Bordeaux, France) Primary

Object Type: print
Artist Nationality: Europe, Spanish
Medium and Support: Etching, burnished aquatint and burin
Credit Line: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The 1992 Friends of the Archer M. Huntington Art Gallery Purchase
Accession Number: 1992.257

In 1816, Goya announced the publication of “thirty-three prints that represent different maneuvers and positions in the art of contesting with bulls.” La Tauromaquia––The Bullfight––presents some of the great figures and moments of Spain’s national pastime. Goya’s choice of subject was guided by the poet Don Nicoás Fernandez de Moratín’s brief history of bullfighting, published in Madrid in 1777, and by a manual attributed to the most famous matador of the time, Pepe Illo, published in Cádiz in 1796. While the intention and the imagery of the series are the most conventional of Goya’s print series, the Tauromaquia nevertheless involves a radical and fairly subversive critique. In these works Goya celebrates the power and nobility of the bull rather than the people portrayed, anticipating the sensibility of French Romantics like Géricault and Delacroix. Similarly, the amorphous space and flat patterning of his compositions are personal and unexpected, predicting elements in the style of critical early modernists, notably Manet.

Moratín’s text includes the legendary soldier Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar. Diaz served the Moorish king of Zargoza in the eleventh century, becoming the archetypal Castillian warrior and the national hero known as El Cid Campeador.

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