Picasso revisits various styles from his long career as he had done fifteen years earlier in Les Femmes d'Alger. As for that example the final opus is the most complex and the best completed. On February 28 in London, Sotheby's sells this oil on canvas 146 x 114 cm dated October 23, 1970, lot 16 estimated £ 14M.
This robust man is much larger than life. He holds the sword, an essential instrument of his function. Except for his fanciful musketeer's hat, his clothes copy a portrait of a matador painted by Goya around 1797. The background is not plain as in the previous paintings of the series : the torero poses in the middle of the sand colored arena and a pattern of hatching simulates the spectators who are waiting for the action on the seats.
With his wide open eyes and his clenched mouth, the attitude of the man is severe. His game is dangerous. Despite the poor health of the artist, this work with a good psychological expression is a picturesque evocation of the Spanish culture and not a presentiment of his next appointment with death.
Please watch the video shared by Sotheby's.
SOLD for £ 16.5M including premium