June 20, 2006

Global Seminars & Invited Speaker Series


Bullfighting in Navarre

D. Ignacio J. Urricelqui Pacho


place of Pamplona

Carlos Ruano LLopis. place de Toros de Pamplona. 1942.

The lecture offered a panoramic view of the evolution of the bullfighting poster in Navarra from the mid-nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. It focused, in particular, on two types of posters. On the one hand, those produced by the Pamplona City Council to advertise the San Fermín festivities, in which bullfights were the most characteristic and determining element for decades; and, on the other hand, those promoted by the Casa de Misericordia, especially from the 1920s onwards, to advertise the bullfights organized by the Casa de Misericordia. 

With regard to the former, it was pointed out that the San Fermín poster showed for decades a similar aspect to the rest of the bullfighting posters that were made all over Spain to announce the bullfighting fairs that were held on the occasion of the different patron saint festivals. In them, the bull, the bullfighters and the subalterns were the absolute protagonists, while, through the text and the presence of elements such as the coat of arms of the municipality, the poster was linked to the capital of Navarre. It was at the beginning of the 20th century, thanks to authors such as Javier Ciga, when the running of the bulls would take center stage as a characteristic spectacle and sign of identity of the Pamplona fiestas.

Regarding the posters of the Casa de Misericordia, it was pointed out that, although at the beginning they depended to a great extent on those presented annually to the San Fermin competition, they soon became independent and were related to the aesthetics of bullfighting posters in Spain, by authors such as Ruano Llopis or Reus, where dynamic groups of bull and bullfighter, vibrant with chromatism, upholstered the walls of the Spanish bullrings. The creation of the Bullfighting Fair in 1959 meant the continuation of this aesthetics through the works of Andrés Martínez de León from Seville and Antonio Casero from Madrid. With the 1967 poster, by the Navarrese José Antonio Eslava, the Pamplona bullfighting poster would open up to new trends and styles.

The speaker insisted on the importance of the poster that, after its ephemeral advertising work, remains as a document and testimony for the city's report , which is why its conservation and study is essential.