Bullfight, Suerte de Varas

Object Details

Title:

Bullfight, Suerte de Varas

Artist/Maker(s):
Culture:

Spanish

Date:

1824

Medium:

Oil on canvas

Dimensions:

49.8 x 70.8 cm (19 5/8 x 27 7/8 in.)

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Before a mesmerized crowd, man and beast dramatically confront one another. The fiercely determined picadorleans forward and gathers all his strength, readying himself to stab the impassive bull with his sharp lance. Dying or wounded animals lie on the ground, and the bloody undersides of the picador's horse convey the abusive and violent aspects of the sport of bullfighting. The bull coolly eyes his opponent as a group of fearful men try to distract the savage animal.

Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes painted this work late in his career when he had begun experimenting with different techniques. Showing remarkable freedom, Goya used a heavily loaded brush, a palette knife, a rag, and even his fingers to apply paint to the canvas. Thick black strokes of paint suggest tension and movement, while dark shadows and a faceless crowd in the background lend an ominous air to this emotional confrontation.

Provenance
1824 - 1861

Joaquín María Ferrer, 1777 - 1861 (Paris, France), by gift from the artist, 1824; by inheritance to his heirs, 1861.

1861 -

Heirs of Joaquín María Ferrer, 1777 - 1861, by inheritance to the Marqués de Baroja, by 1900.

by 1900 -

Marqués de Baroja (Madrid, Spain), by inheritance to his heirs.

Heirs of the Marqués de Baroja, by inheritance to the Marquesa de la Gándara, by 1970.

by 1970 - 1992

Marquesa de la Gándara (Rome, Italy; Switzerland) [sold, Sotheby's, London, December 9, 1992, to the J. Paul Getty Museum]

Exhibitions
Obras de Goya (May 1900) (Cat. 119)
  • Ministerio de Instruccion Pública y Bellas Artes, (Madrid), May to May, 1900
Goya, 1746 - 1828 (May 16 to June 30, 1951) (Cat. 59)
  • Musée des Beaux-Arts (Bordeaux), May 13 to June 30, 1951
Goya, toros y toreros (March 3 to June 5, 1990) (Cat. 48)
  • Espace Van Gogh, (Arles), March 3 to June 5, 1990
Goya: el capricho y la invención: cuadros de gabinete, bocetos y miniaturas / Goya: Truth and Fantasy: The Small Paintings (November 19, 1993 to October 16, 1994) (Cat. 112)
  • Museo del Prado, (Madrid), November 19, 1993 to February 15, 1994
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), March 17 to June 12, 1994
  • The Art Institute of Chicago, July 16 to October 16, 1994
Goya: 250 Aniversario (March 30 to June 2, 1996) (Cat. 167)
  • Museo del Prado, (Madrid), March 29 to June 2, 1996
Manet / Velázquez: The French Taste for Spanish Painting (March 4 to June 8, 2003) (Cat. 12)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (New York), March 4 to June 8, 2003
Goya - Prophet der Moderne (July 12, 2005 to January 8, 2006) (ex cat.)
  • Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz, (Berlin), July 12 to October 3, 2005
Goya's Last Works (February 22 to May 14, 2006) (Cat. 22)
  • The Frick Collection, (New York), February 22 to May 14, 2006
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