Pablo Picasso (Malaga 1881 - Mougins, France, 1973) works with prints throughout his entire career, however the practice intensifies from the Thirties onwards. At this point he consolidates his language and a change of style can be seen, when he gives prominence to graphic aspects. In the aspect of Picasso as a print-maker an emphasis on issues related to classical literary tradition, or influences of it, appear, which are more prone to narrative. The painter’s theme and the model or the myth of Minotaur is then incorporated into the Picasso’s iconography; it appears on a recurring basis during his career and finds its parallels in painting.
This exhibition presents a selection of prints by Picasso that are part of the of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía collection. The Museum has one hundred and thirty prints, made in different techniques and dated between 1922 and 1972. The bulk of them are concentrated around his three major series: Suite Vollard (September, 1930 - June, 1936), Suite 347 (1968) and Suite 157 (1970-1971). The rest are linked to the genesis of Guernica (1937) such as Minotauro ciego guiado por una niña I (September 22, 1934), in turn related to Minotauromaquia (1935), or the examples Mujer llorando I y Mujer llorando II, both dated July 2, 1937.
Also worth mentioning are two prints from the Sueño y Mentira de Franco (January 1937), the first work of political commitment that expresses his opposition to the military uprising against the Republic in July 1936. Furthermore, with his iconographic and literary references, these two prints show the influence of Alfred Jarry, Georges Bataille and of the popular imagery developed at the Republican front, in a double piece created from the point of view of compositions such as traditional aucas and chapbooks.
In his prints, Picasso uses the same artistic language, to such an extent that he combines figuration characterised by shapes and classic solutions in lines, volumes and compositions, with orientations towards a vocabulary of deformations, twists and anatomical excesses.
The pieces on display reveal a unity and coherence within Picasso’s overall production in painting, drawing and printmaking. Two factors stand out in particular, the themes and rigorous dating of each work. Picasso transfers onto his prints this habit which he acquires in his youth and which gives his pieces a natural, everyday artistic feel. With regard to the matters he addresses, the most recurrent is the painter and his model -that in his case reaches the category of gender- as well as the configuration of his personal mythology, where he combines the autobiographic with symbolic values from the myth of the Minotaur.