Minotaure aveugle guidé par une fillette dans la nuit [Blind Minotaur Guided by a Young Girl in the Night], plate 97 from the Suite Vollard
34 cm x 44 cm (13 3/8 in. x 17 5/16 in.)
(Málaga, Spain, 1881 - 1973, Mougins, France)
Medium and Support:
Aquatint and drypoint
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Leo Steinberg Collection, 2002
Blind Minotaur is one of the most celebrated images in a suite of one hundred that Pablo Picasso produced between 1930 and 1937 for the dealer Ambroise Vollard. Having exhausted Analytical and Synthetic Cubism, and after repeated visits to Italy where he explored ancient art, Picasso entered a classical phase. Focusing on the expressive potential of line, he reinterpreted ancient myths, such as that of the Minotaur, which for him represented the ideal union between man and beast, a combination at once passionate and conflicted. In this, the last image in a series of fifteen sheets treating the theme, the once powerful beast has been deprived of his sight and is dependent on a little girl for direction. Here Picasso has depicted the protagonist, who in earlier images seduced beautiful women, as enfeebled, while transforming the lovely female into a compassionate guide. The energetic line has been replaced by rich, velvety black surroundings, bright day turning into inky night.
Vollard died in a car accident before he could have the suite printed. It remained unpublished in its entirety until 1950, when another dealer, who had acquired the plates during the war, had them printed and signed by the artist.