Picasso’s Greatest Print: The Minotauromachy in All Its States

Los Angeles County Museum of Art


The difficulties of the composition are not formal but analytical, it is laid out in full at once but dramatically realized in the six succeeding states.

The girl holding a candle and the man climbing a ladder are the realized action, rather than onlookers. This conditions a major shift from negative radiance to positive illumination, gradually attuning the tragic and comic faces above, and clarifying the feminine horse’s head, counterpart to the minotaur. The placement of the torera‘s head as she lies athwart her horse follows the line of the haunch to her mouth.

A sailing ship in the far distance and a rain cloud bursting behind the minotaur express the initiation of the movement.