The Minotaur and the Bullfight

Pablo Picasso
Spanish, 1881–1973
1935 (printed 1936)
Etching and engraving on paper
Private Collection
© 2017 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

During the 1930s, Picasso’s imagery focused on classical mythology and the bullfight, both subjects that depict acts of violence, bravery, and sensuality. Picasso created the The Vollard Suite, named for the dealer Ambroise Vollard who commissioned the series, between 1930 and 1937. In this suite of one hundred prints, male minotaurs, fauns, and bulls enact creative or sexual fantasies with the objects of their desire—female mythical creatures or humans. Many of these figures have been described as representing Picasso himself and his lover Marie-Thérèse Walter. The Spanish artist had long been enamored with the bullfight and, at times, introduced autobiographic elements into his depictions of the battle between the bull and the picador (bullfighter on horseback). Many of Picasso’s prints from this time period were printed by Roger Lacourière, a Parisian printer with whom Picasso frequently collaborated.