Although of Spanish origin I found no other corrida or bullfight scene by our painter. Diaz de la Peña is best known as a member of the Barbizon School. In a seemingly effortless style he introduced romantic elements within his naturalist landscapes.
Before 1928 the horses of the picadors were not yet protected by a sort of mattresses.
About Narcisse Virgile Diaz de la Peña
Bordeaux 1807 – 1876 Menton
Landscape and figure painter.
At the age of ten he lost both his parents. They had been Spanish, hence his name. A few years later, at the age of thirteen, due to blood poisoning following a bite by a reptile in his foot, he lost a leg.
At fifteen, in 1822, he entered a studios at Sèvres, where he worked in the decoration of porcelain. In the late 1820s he turned to easel painting; he was briefly tutored by François Souchon and copied the masters (such as Correggio and Watteau) at the Louvre . Around 1831 he met Théodore Rousseau who, although four years younger than our painter, taught him all he knew about painting.
Diaz de la Peña joined the Romantic movement under the influence of Eugène Delacroix, painting Turkish and Oriental figures.
A few years later our painter joined the famous pre-Impressionist School of Barbizon in the forest of Fontainebleau. Naturalist landscape painting with a romatic flavour dominated his work for the rest of his career: dark, somber woodlands which he juxtaposed with the light. But from time to time he would still incorporate romantic idylls, such as Oriental and mythical figures, or gypsies, within his landscapes.
The last years of his life he suffered of a “chronic bronchitis”, which must have been tuberculosis.
He was a very kind and gentle figure who not only inspired the young Impressionists in the way they handled the light, but also helped them financially (Renoir).
About our painting
In the traditional Spanish corrida or bullfight three matadores each fight two bulls. Each matador has six assistants: two picadors (lancers on horseback), three banderilleros (who plant the banderillas or little flags) and a mozo de espadas (the sword page).
Our painting represents a bull charging a picador. As can be seen here, prior to 1928, the horses did not yet carry a mattress-like protection. Before the “peto” was introduced more horses than bulls died in a corrida.
Diaz de la Peña was known for the dangerously effortless facility with which he painted. He was admired for his colorism and for the way he worked the paint which enabled him to create luminous effects. He was criticised for his apparent superficiality.
Apparently our painter only painted a scene from a corrida only once, although he was of Spanish origin.
Why should you buy this painting?
Because it is a unique and very lively scene , showing the modernity of Diaz de la Peña’s style.