This postcard of a moment in a bullfight (La Fiesta Brava) is strikingly beautiful. It depicts the daring move of the matador called, farol de rodillas, literally, “light of knees.” It refers to a maneuver in which the matador drops to his knees before the bull and as the animal charges waves his cape over and around his head.
The bullfighter painted here is the renown Carlos Arruza (1920-1966), also known as “The Cyclone.” Arruza was one of the most prominent bullfighters of the 20th-Century. He began fighting bulls at the age of 14. Born in Mexico of Spanish parents, he moved to Spain in 1944 and fought bulls for many years. He also appeared in several films about bullfighting and even had a part in the 1960 John Wayne film, The Alamo. Like may artist-athletes, Arruza came out of retirement three times – the last time as a rejoneador or a bullfighter on horseback with a lance.
I wish I could make out the artist’s name in the lower left corner. I’ve used my magnifying glass but the signature is not legible -- another mystery. Maybe one of my readers can help here.
The other mystery is how this postcard became part of my collection. I do not remember my grandmother or any one else giving it to me or buying it. There is no post mark and the stamp has been removed rather indelicately. The card was mailed to a Jeff Malone of Livonia, Michigan.