The Bulls of Bordeaux Francisco de Goya Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Francisco de Goya produced several highly regarded series of etchings but many were too controversial to be published during his own lifetime.

The artist's political views would be on display to those who understood the man but perhaps too subtle for more occasional art followers. His subtlety was necessary to avoid serious sanctions from ruling powers, of whom he was often critical. His etchings of bulls were on much safer ground and more easily published and distributed around Spain.

Goya famously painted himself wearing the traditional clothes of this sport, underlining his passion for bullfighting. Perhaps, of all the famous Spanish artists over the years, only Pablo Picasso has devoted so much time to depicting this dramatic pastime in their work. Picasso used very simple solutions to capture the form of man and bull, normally dark drawings or ceramic designs.

There is something innate in bullfighting that can inspire many an artist - the way in which man and beast in a battle, whilst at the same time attempting to find an understanding. The addition of traditional clothing and the historic architectural style of many bullfighting stadiums make this a passion with a significant following, despite concerns in recent years about animal welfare. The etching captured in this page is alive with activity and interest for the viewer, with this being amongst his most detailed artwork of the whole series - see the excited crowd and huge number of figures found within the bullring.