In the Ring: Goya's La Tauromaquia
Francisco Goya’s La Tauromaquia is a cloaked, slyly satirical statement nested within the quest for survival, identity, culture, and ethics. Unlike many interpretations of Tauromaquia that describe this series as a chronological evolution of what became known as contemporary bullfighting, Goya’s version inventively and creatively embraces tauromaquia as a multicultural development, with the belief that the Moorish past is integral rather than alien to the Spanish national identity, shaping a history of the bullfight from the wild hunt to the ritual and the ceremonious. 1
In the La Tauromaquia series, Goya’s use of etching, particularly aquatint, allowed him the versatility to combine his skills as a draftsperson and as a painter, as opposed to the use of the established process of engravings. Relatively new during his active period, the aquatint process allowed for more painterly and tonal effects in printmaking. This process, along with printing editions, made it easier for images to be reproduced over again, sold cheaply and provided wide distribution and acquisition.