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Plate 7 of the Tauromaquia [The Art of Bullfighting] series.
Etching, burnished aquatint and engraving, 244 x 354 mm. Harris 210, III/III, 1st edition (of 7).
Impression of the first edition (of 7), printed on laid paper without watermark. Generally in very good condition. A very faint soft crease in the right margin, some light marginal foxing. Good margins (sheet: 288 x 413 mm).
According to Harris, the first edition, the only one printed while Goya was alive, appears to have been very small. It is also “the only one in which the full qualities of the plates can be appreciated. The impressions are extremely fine and are all clean-wiped.” (Harris, p. 307). In Origen de los arpones ó banderillas, the white highlights created with a burnisher on the character wearing a cape on the left or, thanks to the juxtaposition of the aquatint and the white of the paper on the torero, create a clear contrast with the rest of the plate; on the bull and the torero, over-bitten etched work in small areas hasn’t been restored yet.
The placidity of the bull contrasts with the energy in the movement of the torero, ready to thrust the banderilla, a barbed dart or harpoon decorated with colourful streamers. Etched between 1815 and 1816, the thirty-three plates for Tauromaquia illustrate the successive phases in a Spanish corrida, with its dangers and accidents. Goya himself greatly enjoyed tauromachy.
Reference: Tomás Harris: Goya:Engravings and lithographs, 1964.