About This Artwork

Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes
Spanish, 1746-1828

The daring of Martincho in the ring at Saragossa, plate 18 from The Art of Bullfighting, 1814/16, published 1816

Etching, burnished aquatint and drypoint on ivory laid paper
205 x 305 mm (image); 249 x 355 mm (plate); 321 x 445 mm (sheet)

The Charles Deering Collection, 1927.3378.18

Francisco de Goya was an enthusiastic bullfighting aficionado and even claimed to have been a torero (bullfighter) in his younger years. Yet it is unlikely that he meant this print series to be seen only as a fan’s outline of the history of bullfighting in Spain. In the early 19th century, when Goya published these prints, bullfighting was a politically charged activity. It was seen either as bread and circus (or pan y toros [bread and bulls], as a reformist tract put it), meant to keep the populace distracted, or as an expression of Spanish nationalism—a spectacle imbued with patriotic fervor.




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