A Matador, Édouard Manet, 1866-67.
One of my favorite paintings at The Met is Édouard Manet’s A Matador. Although I can’t overlook the truth of bullfighting, I can’t help but be infatuated with the costumes, the movement, and the nostalgia of it. Toreros remind me of dancers, with their strength contrasting with their fragility, along with their grand sweeps and precise gestures. But the Traje de Luces (Suit of Lights) is what really gets me. Their elaborate outfits have only slightly evolved for the past 170 years, and only a handful of tailors make them in Spain.
Christian Gaillard Painting.
A torero places the matador prayer card inside his jacket,
Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Modern Century
Ruven Afanador, Torero Series – Mariano Del Olmo, Mexico City, Mexico, 2001
Ernest Hemingway with Luis Miguel Dominguin.
Manolete, one of the greatest bullfighters of all time.
Ruven Afanador, Miguel de Las Penas Luque, Madrid, Spain, 2001..
An interesting article about the Suit of Lights.
A couple videos showing the craft of the suits:
I’ve been reading Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg, and she asks, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” I keep thinking about it, mulling it over in my head on the subway. It gives me anxiety; it gives me joy. It kind of feels like falling in love. What a liberating thought to take away the fear of financial constraint,, parents’ opinions, society’s conventions, and mostly for me – self-doubt. As I keep thinking of the question,, the night sky comes to mind. Many children have a fear of darkness, Bedtime can be a struggle for some kids. I’m sure it’s how velvety black the sky can get, and all the unknown possibilities. I was never afraid of the dark. I liked sleeping. Sleep brought me vivid, surreal dreams, and it still does. But now, maybe I’ve become afraid of the dark? Afraid of the unknown? I can’t tell when my core shifted, but it makes me sad and anxious. I want to live my dreams, not just dream them.