Goya created Tauromaquia between 1815 and 1816, at the age of 69, during a break from his famous series The Disasters of War. The Disasters of War and the Caprichos, the series he had created previously, served as visual criticism on subjects concerning war, superstition, and contemporary Spanish society generally, including anticlerical scenes. Because of their sensitive subjects, few people had seen these works during Goya's lifetime.
Bullfighting was not politically sensitive, and the series was published at the end of 1816 in an edition of 320—for sale individually or in sets—without incident. It did not meet with critical or commercial success. Goya was always charmed by bullfighting, a theme that obviously inspired him, since it was the subject of many of his works: in a self-portrait (c 1790-95) he depicted himself in a bullfighter's suit; in 1793 he completed a series of eight paintings on tinplate, created for the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, which depicted scenes from bulls' lives from the moment of their birth to the time they enter the bullring; in 1825 he made the series Los toros de Burdeos (The Bulls of Bordeaux) (1825), which Delacroix purchased a copy of. Indicative of his love for bulls is the fact that he signed one of his letters as Francisco de los Toros (Francisco of the Bulls).
Goya used mainly the techniques of etching and aquatint in this series. The artist focuses on the violent scenes that take place in the bullring and the daring movements of the bullfighters. The events are not presented as they are viewed by a viewer in the stands, but in a more direct way, in contrast with The Bulls of Bordeaux where the events are presented as a means of popular entertainment.
- Wilson-Bareau, 61, 64, and 67
- Edward J. Olszewski - Exorcising Goya's "The Family of Charles IV", σ. 173 Archived 2012-12-24 at the Wayback Machine
- Goya, Rose-Marie & Rainer Hagen, p.10, Taschen
- Francisco Goya, Evan S. Connell, p.20
- Goya, Rose-Marie & Rainer Hagen, σ.87, 88, Taschen