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GOYA Y LUCIENTES, Francisco (1746-1828). [La Tauromaquia] Treinta y tres Estampas que representan diferentes suertes y actitudes del arte de lidiar los Toros. Madrid: [probably Rafael Esteve for the artist, 1816].
GOYA Y LUCIENTES, Francisco (1746-1828). [La Tauromaquia] Treinta y tres Estampas que representan diferentes suertes y actitudes del arte de lidiar los Toros. Madrid: [probably Rafael Esteve for the artist, 1816].

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GOYA Y LUCIENTES, Francisco (1746-1828). [La Tauromaquia] Treinta y tres Estampas que representan diferentes suertes y actitudes del arte de lidiar los Toros. Madrid: [probably Rafael Esteve for the artist, 1816].

Large, fine and complete set of the first edition, which had a very small print run, with brilliant impressions of all the aquatints, sharp plate-edges and full margins. Only 29 plates are known in working proofs and only pl.33 is recorded in trial proof (Madrid BN and Douce-Ashmolean), all on watermarked paper. As Tomás Harris remarks, the first edition is “the only one in which the full qualities of the plates can be appreciated.” The Tauromaquia, as it came to be known, is the rarest of Goya’s four main intaglio series. Its artistry and understanding of the emotion and beauty of the Spanish bullfight stand out among the numerous depictions and publications since the 17th century, even including Picasso’s illustrations to Hillo’s Tauromaquia, which were much influenced by Goya. (The final print of the Treinta y tres Estampas shows in fact Pepe Illo’s death in the Plaza de Madrid.) To some extent Goya followed Nicolás Fernandez de Moratín’s treatise on bullfighting, but his finest images draw on his own memories of corridas and the most extraordinary feats of the toreros he knew.

Two settings are recorded of the printed table of subjects, a unique one for the proof set in Madrid Biblioteca Nacional, another for most surviving sets of the first edition. Three sets are known with a title-page and the table in manuscript – all by the same calligrapher – with variant titles, the prints in a different order and the printed plate-numbers scratched and altered in pen-and-ink. The present first-edition set belongs to the issue constituted to show the definitive sequence of the plates, with the printed table and drop-title. Four subsequent editions were published between c.1825 and 1905 from increasingly worn plates. Delteil 224-256; Harris I, pp.173-174 and II, pp.306-310 and nos.204-236.

Oblong half broadsheets (280 x 401mm). Letterpress title and table of contents on recto of a single half-sheet of laid paper [watermarked “Bartolome Mongelos”], 33 numbered plates, on a uniform stock of laid paper [14 half-sheets watermarked SERRA]: etchings with burnished aquatint, most with drypoint and/or burin, some with lavis (creases in title-leaf ironed out, marginal stain on pl. 5 not affecting image, otherwise in fine condition). Bound in mid-19th-century green quarter roan gilt, perhaps Spanish, flat spine, green-and-red marbled paper boards, marbled endpapers, front flyleaf of wove paper.

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