About This Artwork

Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes
Spanish, 1746-1828

The Agility and Audacity of Juanito Apinani in the ring at Madrid, plate 20 from The Art of Bullfighting, 1814/16, published 1816

Etching and aquatint on ivory laid paper
202 x 309 mm (image); 246 x 355 mm (plate); 321 x 445 mm (sheet)

The Charles Deering Collection, 1927.3378.20

From 1785 to 1814, the laws regulating bullfighting in Spain were changed four times by succeeding governments. These regulations varied wildly depending on the government’s political bent, ranging from outright prohibition to free admission for all. Due to its politicization, bullfighting became a useful metaphor for societal conflict, which Francisco de Goya employed to obliquely comment on the Spanish body politic. For instance, Goya often pictured the spectators as compositionally divided—either huddled at the right of the print or crowded to the left as in this work—recalling stark divisions in Spanish society.

Interpretive Resources

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