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Minotauromachy (La Minotauromachie)

One of the most important prints of the twentieth century, this rare work (only approximately fifty-five impressions are known) is one of Picasso’s largest and most complex etchings. It represents the culmination of the Minotaur theme that fascinated the artist throughout the 1930s. Picasso first explored the sub-theme of the young girl (whose visage resembles his lover Marie-Thérèse Walter) leading a blind Minotaur in four plates for the Vollard Suite. Viewing the mythical monster as a metaphor for himself and for his homeland, he saw it as a reflection on his turbulent love life and on the current political situation. Elements from this print—the bull, fallen woman on the horse, and girl holding a light—reappear in an altered form in Guernica (1937), Picasso’s mural about the horrors of the Spanish Civil War.

Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art’s collection includes three plates from the Vollard Suite (Eskenazi Museum of Art 76.56.45–.47), where Picasso first began to explore the theme of the young girl (whose visage resembled his new lover Marie-Thèrése Walter) leading a blind Minotaur.

Pablo Picasso
Spanish, 1881–1973
Minotauromachy (La Minotauromachie)
1935
Etching and engraving on paper
Image/plate: 19 3/8 x 27 3/8 in. (49.2 x w. 69.5 cm); sheet: 22 x 29 7/8 in.
(55.8 x 75.8 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 76.64

Large image not available.