Picador Caught by the Bull (1793) by Francisco Goya

Picador Caught by the Bull - Francisco Goya - 1793

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Artwork Information

TitlePicador Caught by the Bull
ArtistFrancisco Goya
Dimensions43 x 32 cm
Art MovementRomanticism
Current LocationPrivate Collection

About Picador Caught by the Bull

The artwork titled “Picador Caught by the Bull,” created in 1793 by Francisco Goya, is an oil on tin genre painting reflecting the Romanticism movement. The piece measures 43 x 32 centimeters and is a part of a private collection.

The artwork vividly captures a dramatic moment within a bullfighting arena. At the center of the scene, a picador, astride a horse, is being thrust backward as a bull charges into the horse, upending the scene in chaos. The force of the impact is palpable, with the picador’s body thrown back and his arm flailing. The horse, also clearly in distress, is bent and twisted in an unnatural pose, emphasizing the brutality of the encounter.

Around the central figures, the artwork depicts other participants in the bullfight—likely banderilleros and matadors—reacting to the incident. Some appear to be rushing in to assist, while others draw back in alarm. The expressions on their faces convey a mix of concern, shock, and fear, drawing the viewer into the intense emotions of the event.

The arena is filled with spectators, detailed meticulously by Goya in the background. The crowd is depicted in the stands, creating a sense of depth and atmosphere, illustrating the public spectacle that bullfighting was during that time. The audience’s attention is fixated on the scene unfolding below, and their various reactions contribute to the tension of the artwork.

Goya’s palette and use of light and shadow add to the dramatic effect, focusing the eye on the central act of violence. The contrast between the darkened figures in the foreground and the sunlit crowd in the backdrop further accentuates the tumultuous event taking place in the ring. The work is exemplary of Romanticism, which often embraced intense emotion, individual drama, and the sublime, all of which are encapsulated in this small yet powerful work by Goya.

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