I have to admit, I was always peculiar about Bullfighting, but never really interested in it until I started reading
The Sun Also Rises
by Ernest Hemingway. I have never seen a real bullfight in person, nor have I ever met a real Matador. To me, bullfighting was a beautiful yet dying art, that people this day and age didn't really care to understand.
Hemingway was an aficionado of bullfighting; he believed a real Matador was one of the bravest forms of human beings. To him, bullfighting was an art, a passion, a sensual and religious experience. He believed it was the purest form of living, the line between life and death so fine, a mere centimetres between the flesh of a person and the deathly horns of a bull. To him, the Matador was an artist, a performer. The way he moved in the bull ring was supposed to be pure and smooth, flowing around the bull rather than twisting to avoid it. Hemingway said '
Bullfighting is the only art in which the artist is in danger of death and in which the degree of brilliance in the performance is left to the fighter's honour.'
The more I read Hemingway's book, the more intrigued I became with this lost art form. So I took it upon myself to research bullfighting some more, to find out for myself why this man, whom many considered to be the man of men, was so infatuated with it. I read some articles, watched some clips, and researched Matadors like Sebastian Castella (who was gored twice by bulls), Juan Belmonte (considered by many to be the father of modern bullfighting), and Manolete (who was played by Adrien Brody in the 2006 Hollywood film
A Matador's Mistress
). The more clips I watched, the more I started to understand what Hemingway and the other
(what bullfighting enthusiasts were called) described. Bullfighters were artists who crafted masterpieces through their courage and honor, their appreciation of competition and their celebration of death. Spanish culture, unlike the French and the English which 'lived for life', strived for an honorable death and celebrated it. I think a true Matador has to embrace this belief in death and engrave it into his soul when he takes up the arena against his worthy opponent, the Bull.
I will certainly try to look into Bullfighting some more, maybe even try to see a fight or two. But for now, I leave you with this beautiful clip Scott Schuman, aka The Sartorialist (a huge inspiration of mine), made about Bullfighters.