Tauromaquia 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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La Tauromaquia, or Bullfighting in English, is the title of a series of 33 etchings by Francisco de Goya which remain amongst his most important in this medium.

The artist was in his late 60s at the time of working on this and was specialising in etching techniques during this period. Caprichos and The Disasters of War were other important etching series delivered around this time. This ever-ambitious artist would even find time to later move on to lithographs, though without as much focus as he gave to this earlier medium.

The artist would find this series far easier to publish because his theme of Bullfighting was both a passion for many Spaniards at that time but also particularly uncontroversial at that time. Compare that to some of his other series that were subtly critical of religious and monarchal institutions and therefore very unpalatable to the ruling powers within his own lifetime. Indeed many would never even get to see any of these more politically-charged series of etchings.

Although La Tauromaquia cannot be considered a commercial success it did still help to build the reputation of this artist in new areas and the medium of etching has long been a powerful tool for enabling the distribution of print reproductions to the masses at very affordable prices. This was a series of 320 and was put on sale in 1816 to mixed fortunes. Art followers in the present day may struggle to understand the difficulty in selling original Goya artworks, but many famous names have struggled for acclaim during their own lifetimes.

Goya was always passionate about bullfighting, once even dressing in the traditional attire for a self portrait. He was far from the only Spaniard to have this liking for the sport, though. Even Pablo Picasso, a famous animal lover who kept dogs, doves, a goat and many more creatures as pets in his own lifetime also produced a series of work based around bullfighting.