The piece of the month of November 2023


Iñaki Urricelqui
Museum of Carlism

Private collecting is a source of knowledge for art historians, and even more so if such collecting is carried out by people who are sensitive and aware of the patrimonial value of the goods they treasure and who are generous in offering researchers the opportunity to have access to such materials for their study and dissemination. In addition, thanks to the current dynamism of the art market, not Exempt sometimes of an excessive speculative sense, has facilitated the mobility of cultural property and, thus, its accessibility.

Thanks to this we have had the opportunity to access a copy of a painting by Francisco de Goya (1746-1828), from the Barcelona art market, oil on canvas, 42x59 cm (without framework), 53x69 cm (with framework), which is currently in a private collection in Navarre.

Specifically, it is a copy of Goya's work "La corrida de toros" from the collection of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando (inv. no. : 0675) and which, identified with one mentioned in the painter's estate inventory of 1828, passed after his death to the collection of his friend and academician Manuel García de la Prada.0675) and which, identified with one mentioned in the inventory of the painter's assets in 1828, passed after his death to the collection of his friend and academician Manuel García de la Prada, who in 1839, upon his death, bequeathed it along with other paintings by the Aragonese master to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, as can be seen in the inventories of the Madrid institution1. The original scene, painted in oil on panel, must have been painted around 1808-1812, although some authors delay its execution somewhat by relating it to the prints of La Tauromaquia, and more specifically to issue 27, "El célebre Fernando del Toro, varilarguero, obligando a la fiera con su garrocha" (1814-1816)2. In fact, between the painting of the Academy and the print there are evident compositional similarities in the bull and the picador, although there are also clear differences, especially in the position of the latter, facing forward and passive in the print, and backward and active in the engraving. This more aggressive attitude of the picador towards the bull will be seen again in "Corrida de toros. Suerte de varas" (1824, J. Paul Getty Museum, inv. no.: 93.PA.1).

"La corrida de toros" was, along with other paintings from the Academia de San Fernando and those in the Museo del Prado, one of the most copied by artists in the second half of the 19th century and early 20th century, at a time of growing interest in Spain and abroad in the life and work of Francisco de Goya3. Among the Goya copyists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries we find renowned artists. Well known is the case of Mariano Fortuny (1838-1874), who during his stay in Madrid between 1866 and 1867 copied several of his best known works such as "La familia de Carlos IV" (around 1867)4, without forgetting other copies such as "Disparate cruel "5 or the drawing "Prisionero "6. Artists such as Ángel Lizcano (1846-1929)7 or Francisco Domingo Marqués (1842-1920) also copied his work, as well as foreigners such as Zacharie Astruc (1833-1907)8. We cannot forget the unsigned copies, such as the one of "La maja vestida" kept at the Museo Nacional de Arte de Cataluña9.

Focusing on the specific copies of "La corrida de toros" of the Academy of San Fernando, and as some sources report, we find that of the French Daniel Mordant (1853-1914) and the English Hercules B. Brabazón (1821-1906), who made an exact copy of it10. Brabazón (1821-1906), who made an exact copy of it10. An interesting case is the copy belonging to the collection of the Baroness of Areyzaga that was exhibited in the retrospective art sample of the Spanish-French exhibition of Zaragoza in 1908 along with three others, also copies of the remaining copies of Goya of the Academy11. The work, which appeared in the catalog as "Una capea", was considered authentic by some critics, along with the other three, although Elías Tormo denied it, considering them copies of unknown author12. For his part, Eugenio Lucas Velázquez (1817-1870) is attributed with a copy of the painting of the Academy made around 1850 that belonged to the collection of the politician Joaquín Roas Castro (Badajoz), oil on canvas 45x74 cm, and which was auctioned at Christie's (London, 2015) and at Morton Auctions (Mexico, 2016). This painting from the Roas Castro collection was part of the 1928-1929 Ibero-American Seville exhibition , with the catalog issue 98713. But undoubtedly the best known copy corresponds to Francisco Lameyer (1825-1877), referred to by Boix14, followed by Lafuente Ferrari15, and whose image was made known by Martínez Rodríguez16. Said painting was auctioned in 1981 in Durán (March, cat. 146, t. 1., no. 47) and was subsequently awarded at auction in 2018 (Alcalá, October 2, 2018, lot no. 561). It is an oil on panel measuring 45x73 cm and, therefore, identical to the one in the Academy, although poorly dated by Alcalá, as it is dated around 1815-1819, when the artist was born in 182517.

If we compare both copies, the one attributed to Lucas Velázquez and the one by Lameyer, with the original, we can see that both are more accurate in drawing and chromaticism than Goya's, but Lameyer's is better as a whole, as well as in some details, the most relevant being the picador. Although it seems clear that Eugenio Lucas Velázquez copied Goya's painting, as seems to be confirmed by the picador and the bull from "The Bullfigth" in the Hispanic Society collection (inv. no.: A2770), which are in the collection of the Hispanic Society (inv. no.: A2770).A2770), which are clearly related to "La corrida de toros" of the Academia de San Fernando18, in the copy of the Roas Castro collection the figure of the rider is not well resolved with respect to the original neither in his position, with the arm holding the reins excessively straight, nor in the execution of the jacket, which looks more like a blouse with excessive flounce, nor in the hat, which resembles that of a charro. On the other hand, Lameyer's copy perfectly resolves the details of the original and, particularly, those of this figure.

The copy in the Navarre collection that we are analyzing is painted in oil on canvas, like the one attributed to Eugenio Lucas Velázquez, but, although more sketchy and smaller than the original, it is much closer to Lameyer's copy in terms of its accuracy with respect to Goya's original. Particularly with regard to the detail of the picador, it faithfully follows the one represented in the painting of the Academy, as in the copy of the artist from Cadiz. This simple detail suggests that the copy in the Navarre collection, whose invoice is A, must have been made directly from the original.

In view of the above, and without more information than that offered by an aesthetic and iconographic analysis of the painting of reference letter in the Navarre collection, it is not possible to determine a priori an approximate authorship of it, although based on its plastic quality it can be considered that the copy that concerns us faithfully follows the original work of Goya, although it presents a more sketchy and loose appearance in the use of color. Nevertheless, compositionally it is faithful to that of the Aragonese master and correctly resolves the figures that focus the attention of the scene: the character that appears on the left inciting the bull, the start of the bull that goes to the picador, the attitude/posture of the picador, and the couple of guys on the right. As we have insisted, in the detail of the picador we can see a faithful resolution with respect to the original work, better than the one adopted in the copy of the Roas Castro collection attributed to Lucas Velázquez. Likewise, the scenery, the crowd in the arena and the crowd that crowds in the background with the architectural closure of the scene coincide with the composition of the original, something that in this case also occurs in the other two known copies. As for the final general result , the work in the Roas Casto collection is sharper and more faithful to Goya's original, and Lamayer's is an exact transposition, while the work in the Navarre collection is more sketchy and undefined both in its general planes and in the details, which, however, gives it a suggestive freshness, dynamism and chromatic vibration. Stylistically, this painting follows the Goyaesque style developed by certain authors during the second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, framework chronological to which the rest of the structural elements of the painting correspond, that is, the linen canvas with warp and weft in simple taffeta, and the frame, made of pine wood 5 cm wide, without crosspieces and with four angular wedges, these being somewhat more modern, replacing some earlier ones.

As it is one of the few paintings by Goya from this topic accessible to artists through an institution, it is possible that it is either related to a copy, either for training or to have an "original" at hand for later works, or a commissioned reproduction for a private individual or for commercial purposes. In any case, it is dated after 1840, when Goya's painting was already in the institution, as can be seen from the inventories, and a dating close to the end of the 19th century can be proposed.

The presence of the copy in the Roas Castro collection attributed to Eugenio Lucas Velázquez, the one made by Francisco Lameyer and this one from the Navarre collection confirm the attraction that Goya's "La corrida de toros" had for painters, for some authors one of his most beautiful works19, which captivated the artists of the 19th and early 20th centuries, probably because in it are condensed many of the elements of the Goyaesque universe (bullfighting world, rural environment, tumult, grotesque characters) that characterized the most fierce vein of the romantic image of Spain20.


1 Piquero López, 2012: 222. Ref 1 | Ref 2

2 Ricardo Centellas

3 Juberías Gracia, 2021: 8.

4 Ref

5 Auctioned at Christie's (Paris) in 2005

6 Fortuny's copy, from around 1868, is in the Museo Nacional de Arte de Cataluña (inv. no.: 035769-D).

7 For example, his copy of the portrait of General Urrutia, from the Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando

8 Juberías Gracia, 2021: 8-10.

9 Dated 1932, inv. no.: 068817-000

10 Muñoz Sebastián 1988. For the Brabazón copy, quotation as source to Berckemeyer 1981: 296 ff.

11 The four paintings from the collection of the Baroness of Areyzaga were referenced in exhibition Hispano-French. Retrospective Art. Catálogo. Zaragoza, Tipografía de Emilio Casañal, 1908: 102 and 104. Martínez Rodríguez, 2007: 162 reports on the copy; for his part, for its presence in the exhibition Jimeno, 2008: 26.

12 Tormo, 1919: 285.

13 Ref

14 Boix, 1919: 13.

15 Lafuente Ferrari, 1947: 217.

16 Martínez Rodríguez, 2007: 144, 162-163.

17 Ref

18 Gué Trapier, 1940: 45

19 Baticle, 1995.

20 Lafuente Ferrari: 195-281; AA.VV, 1981; Calvo Serraller, 1995.


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BERCKEMEYER PAZOS, F., "British Artist and the Bullfight". Apollo. The international magazine of arts, 231, 1981 (May), pp. 296-301.

BOIX, F., Francisco Lameyer, painter, draftsman and engraver 1825-1877: Biographical notes and notes about his work, Madrid, V. H. Sanz Calleja, 1919. Raza Española offprint.

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JUBERÍAS GRACIA, G., "Imitating the 'most Spanish' artist. Goya and the construction of a national identity in Spanish genre painting (1868-1919)", ILCEA, 44, 2021.

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MUÑOZ SEBASTIÁN, J. A., "Influencias iconográficas de Goya en los artistas extranjeros", Cuadernos de arte e iconografía, n.º 1 (1988), pp. 271-298. lecture given at the Fundación Universitaria Española, May 28, 1987. III Course on Art and Iconography

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