Armando Miravalls Bove

(Barcelona 1916-1978)

Oil on canvas
Signed in the middle lower right
82 H x 107 L inches
The tragic hero is embodied in Pedro Basauri Pedrucho, whom Ernest Hemingway saw bullfighting in Barcelona in 1937 during the civil war. Brave but not defiant, with his eyes fixed on the task that awaits him and not on us, Pedrucho is portrayed with his faithful crew, those who will have to face a fate that is still uncertain.
“Neither in Spanish dance nor in bulls does anyone have fun; the goblin takes care of suffering through drama, on living forms, and prepares the stairs for an escape from the surrounding reality”. Words pronounced by Federico García Lorca that speak of life as tragedy and bullfighting as a faithful reflection of it.


In this monumental collective portrait appears the bullfighter Pedrucho wrapped by his gang: three banderilleros, the rejoneador, the picador and the swordsman. All of them are arranged around them in a composition organized as a frieze, neat but naturalistic, with the six members of the gang forming a kind of semicircle around the figure. The protagonist, in fact, focuses all our attention by being directly enlightened, under a focus that only affects his teammates. Everyone looks at us, although Pedrucho’s gaze seems to go further, focused on the impending task, on the always uncertain destination. With a strong and brave step, standing on himself, Pedrucho shows himself to the spectator as he would before the bull: facing us, with the shoulders and hips aligned, facing the spectator and taking a step forward. Determined but not in a hurry, with a dominant attitude of exuberant masculinity, he is the tragic hero incarnate.
His companions are also portrayed with mastery, their faces reflecting the hardness of their trade and the courage of their souls. Strong men, somewhat arrogant even, completely determined and prepared for the fight, willing and at the same time calm. Among them captivates our attention a face of intense gaze fixed on us, which does not hesitate; This is the flag that closes the composition on the left side. His face is superbly modeled, and his entire figure captures the light with a marked and elegant caravaggist chiaroscuro.
All are already prepared for the paseíllo, starting with the bullfighter, who is wearing montera, a cape of the purest color (light blue) ritually knotted to the body and green light suit with embroideries, hallows and gold sequins.
Next to him the three banderilleros with grenade silver suits, rosewood and a shelter for the youngest, all with cape and montera. The rejoneador, who closes the composition on the right, wears a country suit. After Pedrucho, the picador appears with the traditional castoreño, decorated silver jacket and cute boots. Finally we guess the shadow-wrapped figure of the swordsman, however skillfully highlighted by the painter thanks to the point of light of the white scarf knotted to his neck.

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Research by Patricia Ortiz