(Fuendetodos, Spain, March 30, 1746 - April 16, 1828, Bordeaux, France)
La Tauromaquia, 1st edition, plate 31, Banderillas de fuego (Banderillas with firecrackers),
Etching and aquatint on paper
8 1/4 x 12 5/8 in. (20.96 x 32.07 cm)
Etching and aquatint
Walter and Elise Mosher Memorial Fund
Goya shows here the practice of embedding lighted banderillas into the neck muscles of the bull, both to encourage him to charge and to tire him as he frantically attemptede to rid himself of the painful barbs; when the attached firecrackers exploded, the bull was further distracted, providing the metador a measure of protection as he attacked. Goya's composition, in which a powerful, centrally-placed bull dominated the figures of men who gesture ineffectively around him, suggest criticism of such excessive cruelty. Particularly remarkable is the manner in which the artist has used aquatint around the bull's head to suggest the explosion.
Plate: 9 1/2 x 13 7/8.
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