It’s based on that famous poem of Lorca’s, you know, where the line ‘A las cinco de la tarde’ keeps coming back. It’s a very long and beautiful poem about his friend the bullfighter being killed. I haven’t seen a bullfight for a long time – I must have only seen three or four of them in my lifetime – but when you have seen one, it remains in your mind forever.

Francis Bacon*

In numerous interviews, Bacon expressed his interest in bullfighting and his admiration of Francisco de Goya. In fact, Bacon actually chose the Spanish master’s work Don Andrés del Peral for an exhibition he curated using works from the National Gallery of London collection in 1985. Goya made 50 red chalk preparatory drawings for his Tauromaquia, in which he used etching, aquatint, dry point, and burin engraving. Even though the main theme in this series is the evolution of bullfights, Goya’s position on this issue has recently sparked a fascinating debate among art historians.

*Art International, Autumn 1987, p. 30 (interviewed by M. Peppiatt).