Cuenca Exhibition

Picasso, printmaker (1904-1935)

February 26, 2013May 12, 2013

Minotauromachie, 1935

Minotauramaquia (1935)La minotauramaquia. París, 23 febrero 1935

From among Picasso's entire output as a printmaker, Minotauromachie stands out in particular, not only because of its large format but also because of its relationship to Guernica and its central place within Picasso's oeuvre. Produced in 1935 in a limited print run, this hermetic work, with its many levels of meaning, is an iconographic synthesis of the motifs that subsequently, in 1937, Picasso would include in Guernica: the minotaur, the central group with a woman-bullfighter lying across a wounded horse, the young girl raising a candle, the women beholding the scene—motifs that he had also employed in a multitude of earlier prints and drawings.

In this work, Picasso manages to capture humanity's existential anguish, taking as his point of departure situations and intimate realities that he had experienced personally. He deploys all manner of formal devices, symbols and figures from other generations, periods and cultures, extrapolating his own experience into a universal language, in response to his individual need for self-expression.

Revolving around the subject and the space of the bullfight, Minotauromachie brings together numerous motifs, some of which are very typical of Picasso's iconographic repertoire. In this work, all of the figures mentioned above are implicated in one way or another in a kind of interplay, in a confrontation that—though presented as the eternal battle between good and evil—nevertheless allows one to intuit the desire that the forces of good should triumph in the end.