The Dead Toreador

Camilla Fallon blogs about Édouard Manet's painting The Dead Toreador at the National Gallery for the blog Painters on Painting. She begins with her first experiences of the painting... 

I remember inspecting the body for a clue as to the cause of this stillness and my eyes lit on the spate of red about the mouth, which seemed such a tiny thing.
moves into the formal issues....
The head’s counter-diagonal position relays the idea that the man is dead. But Manet holds back, creating drama not by indicating action but by using extremes of light and dark
and then gets to the juicy stuff, the fact that this painting was cut out of a larger work.  Revelations like this make all the difference in the world.
After Manet cut the painting there was no longer any spectacle to consider, only the dead man. And that is where its power lies: he creates drama through its subtle structure, allowing the viewer to participate in the realization that the matador is dead and that this death was indeed violent.  
Check out the full post here

Édouard Manet, The Dead Toreador, 1864


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