Tuesday, April 12, 2011

On Mistresses, Marie Therese, Minotaurs, Morals and Minotauromachy and Millions

ABC Wednesday is a word meme with participants from around the world. This fabulous meme was created and hosted by Mrs. Denise Nesbitt who hails from Great Britain. Over time, others have joined in to help host this wonderful and informative meme. We are now in our EIGHTH round! Some of the participants have been with this from the very first round; others have joined in along the way. Each week we are taken across the globe to see the varied and exciting contributions people have taken the time to discover and capture. We start with the letter, "A" and each week we post something in regards to the next letter of the alphabet. This week's letter is, "M".


("Minotauromachy", Pablo Picasso, 1935. Etching and engraving. 
Copyright Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York)

Back in 2006, while still completing my studies for my degree in Art Studio, I wrote a paper for my Art History Graphic Arts class which is another way of calling it the art history class within the area of printmaking. We had to write a paper based on an image. I choose one of my all time favorite etchings done by Pablo Picasso which is called, "Minotauromachy". I had first seen this work in an art exhibit that came to Albuquerque a few months before this paper. The show was called "From Picasso to Plensa" which was a 20th century highlight of artists from Spain. 

I was totally captivated by this image. I had not known until that point in time that Picasso was also a printmaker. I was amazed at the technical achievement of the print AND the air of mystery as to what the image was about. Doing a paper on it seemed like a good way to delve in to it wholeheartedly.

The years 1930-37 are marked as most significant to Picasso's printmaking. As an aside, when he died, he left behind more than 18,000 engravings, and over 6,000 lithographs along with numerous linocuts. Totaling at least 30,000 prints altogether! Anyway, it was during this time that he lived very reclusively because he had an unhappy conflict with his Russian wife (and dancer), Olga. Resolution was impossible and divorce would have involved Olga getting half of everything, along with a new mistress occupying his life. Her name was Marie Therese Walker. He met her when she was just 17 years old. Because of the marital conflict, he could not be seen publicly with any mistress. Another important fact to mention is that there was serious civil unrest in Spain and the polarization of world powers all of which provided a unique set of circumstances under which he produced this etching.


 at 17 years old

Marie Therese was happy to live as a total recluse and during this time frame, she was often the main subject matter of Picasso's work. You can see quite a bit of this over at Google images. In fact, this past February, a painting just sold for more than $40 million at a Sotheby's auction-which took the winning bidder all of 6 minutes to gain this prize.

Picasso was 46 years old when he persuaded Marie Therese to become his lover and mistress. It was a secret relationship. They lived as recluses in a chateau near the village of Boisegeloup. The images of Marie Therese created at Boisegeloup ranged from exaltation to intimacy to celebratory to sensual and explicitly sexual.

The cast of characters in Minotauromachy is rich with mixed metaphors. However, I will not launch into the dissertation of deciphering these images. I can't even find the completed typed up document of this paper! I have all of the components, but the only evidence of the entire paper is in hard copy. But, one section of notes that I do have is in regards to the research of the images and its symbolism which can be found here.

I hope you enjoyed learning a bit about this image. It is truly fascinating and if I ever win the lottery, I am buying on of the rare prints of this!! It is such a significant image on so many levels that I have not even mentioned here. Yet, it is not an image that is commonly associated with Picasso. All I can say is, 'go figure'...I find it mystifying.


Spadoman said...

You did good. I learned something and you used the "M" in that title a lot! I don't know much about the artists. I took one art appreciation class in college. It was an elective. What I came away with is the simple fact that if I didn't know what it was suppose to mean, that was okay because the artist might be the only one to know. Most art doesn't come with an interpretation sheet. Good work on your part. Your passion shows.


gigihawaii said...

I find Picasso's work very disturbing (except for his Blue period, which is representational art). Yes, unique but disturbing nevertheless...

Roger Owen Green said...

Wow, did not know about the printing part of Picasso.

ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Sylvia K said...

Yes, I learned something I didn't know about Picasso, too! Terrific and very interesting post for the M Day, Paula. I like some of Picasso's work very much, find some of it troubling, but he was a very complicated man as well as being very talented! Have a lovely evening!

ABC Team

Granny Smith said...

It's like some of the best of modern poetry which is non-explicit but evocative. Is this an etching? The picture did not enlarge sufficiently for me to determine the kind of print (or maybe it's my eyes).

Very nice bit of Picasso history.

Carver said...

What a fascinating post. I love the image and also very interesting information.

Hildred and Charles said...

You must have had a wonderful time writing a paper on this intricate print. Very Interesting post, Paula.

Tumblewords: said...

Totally fascinating. I've read little about Picasso so you've shown me a lot. Excellent post.

Kate said...

I'd like to read your paper!

Mar said...

Love it when I learn something new! didn't know about that part of Picasso, interesting choices for M.

ABC Wed: M

Joy said...

You certainly worked the M today:-) Fascinating, I had not realised how prolific his printmaking was. An interesting etching to study. The potential lottery money would be well spent.

chubskulit said...

Nice pick for letter M! magnificent info too!

My Letter M, hope you can come and see. Have a great Wednesday!

Leslie: said...

Well, that was certainly educational...that image is fascinating and I can see how you could get into an entire thesis on it. Enjoyed the info on Picasso and his mistress and might see if I can find some sort of biography on him at our local Chapters.

abcw team


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