Francisco de Goya

Matador Killing the Bull (Suerte de matar)

Matador Killing the Bull (Suerte de matar)
Datos Generales
Private collection
42 x 31 cm
Técnica y soporte
Oil on tin
Reconocimiento de la autoría de Goya
Undisputed work
Private collection
Ficha: realización/revisión
28 Apr 2010 / 14 Apr 2021

This work was painted during Goya's stay in Cádiz in 1793 and delivered in January of the following year to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, Madrid, where, according to De Salas, it remained for some time. It later went to the collection of the Duke and Duchess of Medinaceli.

It has also belonged to the collection of Ceán Bermúdez, Marquis of La Torrecilla, and that of the Duchess of Cardona.

Análisis artístico

In a bullring which may be that of Madrid, the matador prepares to deliver the killing blow at the end of the fight. In the centre of the composition, in the foreground, the bullfighter holds aloft his sword, about to thrust it into the bull, whilst using his hat in place of his cape to distract the animal. According to Gassier, this image of a matador approaching the bull just prior to killing it can be seen repeated in Goya's Bullfighting (Tauromaquia) series of etchings, and most notably in plate number 18, entitled The Daring of Martincho in the Ring at Zaragoza (rec. no.).

Behind the matador and the bull, two horses lie dead on the ground, and between them a picador on horseback contemplates the scene. In front of and behind the barrier, some members of the bullfighter's team discuss the fight, whilst others watch on, waiting for the final blow. The stands, which are almost entirely in shadow, are filled with attentive spectators.

The light coming from the right-hand side illuminates a portion of the stands and part of the ring itself, inviting our gaze to fall back onto the figure of the matador. This lighting also creates a somewhat theatrical atmosphere, magnifying the drama of the matador's pose and the importance of this exact moment.

For more information, see Bulls in the Meadow.


  • Goya
    Koninklijke Musea Voor Schone Kunsten Van België
    consultant editor Luis González Seara. From October 26th to December 22nd 1985
  • Goya: toros y toreros
    Espace Van Gogh
    displayed also at Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid, consultant editor Pierre Gassier.
  • Goya. El Capricho y la Invención. Cuadros de gabinete, bocetos y miniaturas
    Museo Nacional del Prado
    from November 18th 1993 to February 15th 1994. Exhibited also at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, March 18th to June 12th 1994 and The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, July 16th to October 16th 1994, consultant editors Manuela B. Mena Marqués and Juliet Wilson-Bareau
  • L'œuvre peint de Goya. 4 vols
    p. 134, cat. 473
  • GASSIER, Pierre y WILSON, Juliet
    Vie et ouvre de Francisco de Goya
    ParísOffice du livre
    p. 169, cat. 323
  • vol. I, p. 278, cat. 278
  • ANGELIS, Rita de
    L’opera pittorica completa di Goya
    pp. 106, cat. 273
  • José Camón Aznar
    Francisco de Goya, 4 vols.
    ZaragozaCaja de Ahorros de Zaragoza, Aragón y Rioja
    vol. II, p. 81
  • Pierre Gassier
    Goya, toros y toreros
    MadridMinisterio de Cultura, Comunidad de Madrid
    pp. 64 y 65 (il.), cat. 8
  • WILSON-BAREU, Juliet
    Goya. El capricho y la invención. Cuadros de gabinete, bocetos y miniaturas
    MadridMuseo del Prado
    p. 191, 192, 193 y 199 (il.), cat. 37
  • Andrew Schulz
    “Moors and the Bullfight: History and National Identity in Goya's Tauromaquia”
    Burlington magazinevol. XC, 2
    p. 195
  • Joan Sureda Pons
    Los mundos de Goya (1746-1828)
    p. 239
Enlaces externos
Usamos cookies propias y de terceros para mejorar su navegación. Si continua navegando consideramos que acepta el uso de cookies.