Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Ben P. Watkins


The thesis project is to describe the art of bullfighting as a ritual. I discuss term and principles which are pertinent to me, and as a means of artistic self-analysis. The thesis project is to allow an exploration into a traditional form of painting which is a challenge and of practical value to me. In part, the reasoning and mechanics are to be solved. Beginning with the origin of the bullfight I describe the evolutionary state of human courage against animal force. The Spanish had a tremendous influence on the modern art of bullfighting on foot. The difficult thing is to fight the bull with art and grace, just as anything that is a part of bullfighting. Beginning with the subconscious thought, I describe in traditional form the problems, step in procedure, and the final solution.

As a painter I am aware of a simple pattern within the more intricate psychological processes, the parts of which can be labeled. They are: the initial inspiration; incorporation of art forms to express emotional reactions to the idea; and bringing together in a structural organization on canvas elements of form, color and space. The success of this pattern of creative activity in the visual art of painting is my single most significant goal. The initial inspiration was to portray the spirit of man in whatever condition that spirit may be. The theme chosen "The Ritual of the Torero" derived from the personal experience of viewing a bullfight. The introspection required in writing about one's own personal experience disclosed to me pertinent facts about my own emotional reaction to man and beast. Art exists in history, is of history, and concerns itself with history. Bullfighting is a response through art to the needs of a wide public for self-definition and self recognition in Spain. The power and deep passion of the fiesta lies far beyond the visual effects of men and bull which induced these emotions. It plays back to us a primitive, tragic ritual of fertility and seasonal sacrifice. It also plays back to us the social forces we should like to control, and to our apprehension of death itself.

Included in

Painting Commons