The bull, to understand it has to be placed in its natural environment: the Spanish Southwest Dehesa- Extensions of fields dotted with Holm-oaks and shrubs- that allow the bull to live in freedom and maintain its wild character.
This type of bull is called “Toro de Lidia” or “Combat Bull” and it is selected and raised to fight at the bullring. It is a specimen with an instinct for defence and very temperamental, traits which are synthesized in what we call courage. His imposing physique with large horns pointing forward and its weight, approximately 500-600kg., imply an enlargement of the senses when you stand in front of it. If you come across such an experience, you won’t fail to experiment a frighten emotion and a rush of adrenaline.
The evolution of the Bull has a great impact on the preservation of nature and the environment. They live in absolutely freedom for four years, with a much better quality of life than others raised for meat production. While the latter are taken to slaughter, young bulls are tested in a livestock’s private square, tempted to see what special features they have in front of a horse. Cows are also tested to detect their fighting characteristics so as to decide which mothers to destine for mating with each particular stud.
As the philosopher Francis Wolf said:
“The combat bull is the sole domestic animal which, to satisfy the human purposes for which it has been raised, needs not to be domesticated. It has to be raised as wild as possible”.
The Spanish Bullfighting is an expression of the Spanish culture, in which man has to fight in an equal battle with an enormous bull just protected by a cloack and a sword. This cloak changes its colour and consistency as the “corrida moves along. During the first part of the “corrida”, the cloak –which is called “Capote”- it’s pink on one side and yellow, as the ground, on the other. Then during the final part of the bullfight, the torero changes the “capote” for a red cloak, much lighter than the previous one.
Getting dressed is considered as a ritual sacrum by the fighters. The matador is assisted by a helper. The costume is very characteristic:
– Taleguilla: the very tight pants running from the waist to below the knees
– Panties: they use two pairs, but those that are visible are pink.
– White shirt with thin black tie
– The jacket, called Chaquetilla, which has the same coloured embroidery and satchel. It is short and stiff.
– The shoes are flat black ballerina-type
– The Montera is the hat used by the bullfighter. It is common for the bullfighter to offer his performance-to-be to the public or to someone in particular amongst it; in this task he uses it’s Montera to signal his intentions.
Many have been the artists in history who have fallen in love with the art of bullfighting: San Fermin captivated Hemingway and Picasso recognised being a Bull’s lover. During his exile in France, he kept going to bullfights in bullrings as important as the one in Nimes. Furthermore during the deep crisis that spanned the painter, he took refuge in this world which has inspired poets, painters, sculptors and artists in general.