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MFA for Educators

Engage your students with the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to illustrate themes and concepts in any discipline.

Spanish Cultural Identity: Bull Fighting

During a time of warfare and uncertainty, bull fighting became popular in Spain. This national pastime was associated with the identity of a culture that was shaken by the recent French invasion and the tyrannical regime of Joseph Bonaparte, placed on the Spanish throne by his brother Napoleon.

Goya was particularly interested in bulls and bull fighting. He produced a print series entitled Tauromaquia, painted several works with bull fighting as a theme, and included bulls in some of his drawings and sketches that were not specifically about the sport.

Looking at Goya's bull fighting works offers students and educators an excellent opportunity to better understand the political climate of Spain following the Peninsular War and the nation's struggle to define a cultural identity.

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