Oil Painting

In 1960 I went to a Corrida (bullfight) in a small town around Algeciras, Barrios, I believe it was. It was a very small town and there was no permanent bullring. What they did was to install a provisional one, like they do with circuses. I went to this corrida, my first one, with a slight apprehension; I could not imagine what I would feel about it.

The spectators filled the stand; a great multi-colored crowd; a very enthusiastic one, like only Spaniards could be; orchestra playing Paso- Dobles; in all, it was an undescribable feelings of feisty euphoria of a great celebration in a beautiful sunny afternoon.

When finally the gates opened, a firey beast leaped out into the arena and like a wind, ran into the middle of the circle, not quite understanding where he happened to be, and a deafening, roaring crowd all around him. What a magnificent sight of a bull!! ... probably one of the most beautiful and mesmerizing beast there is.

Then men came out of their hiding into the arena and then the bull saw "red", so to speak. After a few Veronicas, the Matador stepped out into the ring, after watching the bull's behaviour, and made a couple of Veronicas himself, and then began performing his art of bullfighting.

I was very struck to see the contrast between this very almost child-looking and frail Matador, which appeared to me almost as a ballerina, against such a powerful force of nature as this bull! The grand fiesta was so charged with a thunder-like power and excitement, orchestra playing, and unexplainable emotions. My heart was beating under my shirt, almost bursting out. For me it was a lesson of mystic mystery, religion, and deep meaning of ways of life and death.

When we walked out to town, for a long time, I had waves of emotional thoughts, and somehow elated pride for the Matador. I have seen many Corridas after and always get surprised by the frailty, grace, dancer-like appearance of the Toreros.

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