The Dead Toreador originally formed the lower half of a composition titled Incident in a Bullfight. Manet reworked the segment, and in May 1867 exhibited it as The Dead Man. This title change coincided with Maximilian's surrender to Juárez's forces. Even if this event was too recent to have influenced Manet, he certainly knew that Maximilian had been cornered in Querétaro since mid-March. The Dead Man may have come to represent, for Manet, a specific victim of Napoleon III's failed campaign.