Real Maestranza Bullring & Museum
The Real Maestranza Bullring of the Royal Cavalry of Seville or The Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza is the place for the bullfights in Seville, with special relevance to the fights during the April Fair. It is considered the oldest and the most traditional bullfighting square of Spain. It is popularly dubbed as the “Cathedral of Bullfighting”.
Originally built in 1733, in wood, it is the first in a circular (oval) form. The plaza is not circular as it looks, it has an oval shape.
From late-baroque architecture which highlights the main entrance with its two towers, it is considered one of the most beautiful bullrings in Spain. It is one of most popular and visited tourist attractions. The arena had a capacity for almost 13,000 spectators, after the renovation of Sombra in 2008.
Around the square you can find statues dedicated to the Seville bullfighters who have triumphed in the same plaza.
In 2008, The Spain Royalty, the Prince and Princess of Asturias (now King and Queen), inaugurated the new rooms of paintings and bullfighting prints of the Bullfighting Museums of the Real Maestranza Bullring of Seville, you should visit it if you want to know the history of this national festival.
The Museum is composed of two sections. The first section contains an exhibition of paintings and the second, bullfighting prints which belong to the Real Maestranza’s collection, one of the largest in the world.
The Painting Room contains a collection of oil paintings from the XVIII, XIX and XX centuries which constitute an outstanding bullfighting art gallery, principally from the Romantic Period.
In the anteroom you can find books and objects, written notes of Mariano Benlliure, oil paintings by artists such as Roberto Domingo, Mariano Fortuny and Carmen Laffón. On the opposite wall there is a display cabinet containing prints from the famous series “Pepe Hillo’s Art of Bullfighting” (1804). Above it, an anonymous XVIII century portrait of the legendary bullfighter Joaquín Rodríguez “Costillares”.
The Print Room houses a select collection of prints, lithographs and engravings. Almost all the historical bullfighting series of the XVIII and XIX centuries are represented, including a picture of one the first recorded bullfighting events.
In the adjoining room twelve prints of Francisco de Goya’s “Tauromachy” are exhibited, belonging to the third edition of the legendary series of etchings which was completed in Paris in 1876.
The route of the visit takes you to the second, and oldest, section of the Bullfighting Museum. It was inaugurated on 5th April, 1989. In it, a sequence is set out, beginning with the origins of the Real Maestranza, with a space devoted to the games practised by the nobility in the XVII and XVIII centuries, and a large display cabinet containing a varied representation of the bullring workers of the XVIII century. An outstanding silk poster of 1740 and a maestrante’s uniform ceded by H.R.H. the Infante Don Carlos de Borbón Dos Sicilias y de Borbón.
Then follows a series of XIX century paintings of bullfighting, including “Goring to death of Pepe Illo”, by Eugenio Lucas Velázquez (1817-1870), and a section devoted to bullfighting in the period of Belmonte and Joselito el Gallo, with works in bronze by Mariano Benlliure and other artists, as well as various bullfighting posters.
The route ends with the most modern of the collections, a varied assemblage on the theme of bullfighting: bullfighters’ suits, capes, posters, bulls’ heads (and the head of the mother of the bull which killed Manolete) and paintings by contemporary artists.
The visit continues through the stables of the Caballos Rejoneadores to a place of high spirituality, the Bullfighter’s Chapel, which is dominated by an altarpiece of the Virgen de Nuestra Señora de la Caridad, who is the object of great devotion of the matadores, and to whom they have made numerous votive offerings