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Modo con que los antiguos españoles cazaban los toros á caballo en el campo [The Way in Which the Ancient Spaniards Hunted Bulls on Horseback in the Open Country], plate 1 from La Tauromaquia

1815-1816 (p. 1905)
19th century
25.7 cm x 35.85 cm (10 1/8 in. x 14 1/8 in.)

Calcografia For Ricardo De Los Rios Perez Agua Printer
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 drypoint
Credit Line: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, University Purchase, 1962
Accession Number: P1962.9

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.
Faithful to the poet Moratin’s history of bulls and bullfighting in Spain, the first plates of the Tauromaquia illustrate the origins of the sport. Here, men on horseback and on foot bring down a wild bull.

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