Dreadful events in the front rows of the ring at Madrid and the death of the mayor of Torrejón, Plate 21 of La Tauromaquia
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Dreadful events in the front rows of the ring at Madrid and the death of the mayor of Torrejón, Plate 21 of La Tauromaquia 1816
This print records the panic at a bullfight which actually took place in Madrid on 15 June 1801. A bull escaped from the ring and jumped into the front row of the spectators’ stand, killing two members of the crowd. One of the fatalities was the mayor of Torrejón, shown here impaled on the bull’s horns and lifted into the air. Goya’s choice of composition was somewhat unusual; he placed all of the activity to the right, leaving the left half of the print almost blank. The terror of the crowd in flight contrasts with the stillness of the bull, which can no longer see as the body of the gorged victim is obscuring its vision. The success of the image relies on the uncomfortable realisation that in this instance, beast has dominated man.

Glossary Open

Drypoint

A printmaking technique that uses a needle to etch an image directly onto a copper plate. The resulting raised surface, or burr, which holds the ink used in the printmaking process produces a soft, velvety effect.

Etching

A form of printmaking in which a metal plate is covered with a substance called a 'ground', usually wax, into which an image is drawn with a needle. Acid is applied, eroding the areas of the plate exposed but not the areas covered by wax. The action of the acid creates lines in the metal plate that hold the ink from which a print is made when the plate is pressed against paper under pressure.

Print

An image pressed or stamped onto paper or fabric. This encompasses a wide variety of techniques, usually produced in multiples, although one-off prints, known as monoprints, are also included. The term is also applied to photographic images.

Drypoint, Etching, Print

Details

  • Acc. No. GOYA.130
  • Medium Etching, burnished aquatint, lavis, drypoint and burin on paper
  • Size 24.50 x 35.50 cm
  • Credit Purchased 1980