Bullfighting on foot started in the beginning of the 18th Century in a very disorganized fashion. It was like a circus, with amateur bullfighters displaying inventive, courageous, and often sadistic stands, completed devoid of artistic value and any developed matadors style. In the second part of the same century the "corrida" started to take shape as a spectacle. Professional bullfighters such as "Costillares", Pedro Romero, and "Pepe-Illo" with their inventions and experimentation of techniques brought a sense of order to the fight that still retained a carnival aspect.
The name "Manolete" is synonymous with bullfighting. Aficionados and non-fans alike are familiar with Manuel Rodriguez, one of the most important matadors in the history of bullfighting, who stood in the routs of matadors classical style and who "died fighting and killed before dying." He was a matador, or bullfighter, with personality, and would speak well of bulls because he knew them well. And although his voice might have been sonorous and seemed sometimes nervous, it was nonetheless very expressive.
Manolete provided such matadors style that on the ring he would remain nearly motionless. He made fewer steps between passes than any other matador. This was the attitude that defined Manolete and matadors from Córdoba and, at the "moment of truth" when the bull met its death, it led to his being injured 33 times, sometimes seriously. But these injuries never diminished his spirit, nor dampened the respect he had for victory or for his fans. They say that a shadow accompanied "Manolete" as he marched in the ceremonial procession that particular afternoon in Linares, a shadow that originated from the cruel demands the public always made and which affected him like slow-acting poison. That shadow, it has been suggested, finally brought him to that fateful meeting with a bull he knew would hurt him. "Manolete" was to be immortalized by that famous gore, instantly transformed into the eternal symbol of the bullfighter.
In this century the innovative techniques of matadors style Juan Belmonte and Manuel Rodríguez "Manolete" have transformed the old way of bullfighting, the best and last flagbearer of which was José Gómez "Joselito", into the modern style of bullfighting, that the audiences expect today. Since "Manolete's" death, in 1947, no fundamental change has occurred in the ways a bull can be fought and dominated. So since then, each matador has implemented the Belmonte and "Monolete" techniques in his or her style of bullfighting to create a "faena" stamped with his or her unique art.
During the first half of the 19th Century bullfighting was formalized as a serious spectacle, in which the bullfighter took fewer chances on the passes and showed more awareness of their esthetic value. Stars like Montes, "Chiclanero", "Cechares" and Cayetano Sanz employed tested techniques in their performances with the result of predictability. The "Rondeña" y "Sevillana" schools were recognized by the incipient "aficionado", who characterized the first as possessing more traces of efficiency and sobriety, and the second as having a tendency toward the artistic and the entertaining. The "toreo" as a dramatic art was in its embryonic stage, and the "fiesta" as the national spectacle of Spain was consolidated with the basic structure to hold it together.
In the middle of the same century the golden age of "tauromaquia" begins with the great bullfighters "Lagartijo" and "Frascuelo", and it continues with Mazzantini", "El Guerra", "El Espartero" and Reverte, and it peaked in the first decade of our century with "Joselito", considered by many as the most complete "matador" of the old style of bullfighting.
Juan Belmonte explains his concept of bullfighting as: "I went to the ring like a mathematitian going to the blackboard to prove a theorem".
Therefore one can see that matadors style differs, but always remains breathtaking art.