About This Artwork

Édouard Manet
French, 1832-1883

Bullfight, 1865/66

Oil on canvas
48 x 60.4 cm (18 7/8 x 23 3/4 in.)

Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection, 1937.1019

Édouard Manet’s trip to Spain in the fall of 1865 lasted only about 10 days, though it had a profound impact on him. In a letter to his friend the poet Charles Baudelaire, he described a bullfight he attended in Madrid as “one of the finest, most curious and most terrifying sights to be seen.” He made quick sketches there that informed several later canvases, including this one. Here he presented the moment of truth, as bullfighter and bull face one another; a gored horse lies dead or dying on the sand.

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