Pepe Illo haciendo el recorte al toro [Pepe Illo making the pass of the 'recorte'], plate 29 from La Tauromaquia
1815-1816 (p. 1905)
25.1 cm x 35.85 cm (9 7/8 in. x 14 1/8 in.)
Calcografia For Ricardo De Los Rios Perez Agua
Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (aka Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes)
(Fuendetodos, Spain, 1746 - 1828, Bordeaux, France)
Medium and Support:
Etching, burnished aquatint, drypoint and burin
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, University Purchase, 1962
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.
Pepe Illo was the most famous matador in Seville and the author of a manual on bullfighting published in 1796. His manual recounts this scene, in which he guides the bull into a characteristic “curtsy,” and responds with a bow of respect.