A Tale from the Labyrinth
The Vollard Suite - a challenging tale
Between 1930 and 1937 Picasso did 100 intaglio prints for his art dealer Ambroise Vollard. The series, which is known as the Vollard Suite, on one hand constitutes a narrative, but on the other hand it challenges the familiar tale as regards the players, timeline, places, and plot involved.
Minotaur borrowed from Greek mythology
Three recurring figures remain: a sculptor, his model, and the Minotaur. The inclusion of the Minotaur links the suite to Greek mythology in which the Minotaur was a legendary creature, part man, part bull, that dwelled in the labyrinth by Knossos on Crete. Every ninth year the city of Athens brought a group of young people to the Minotaur as sacrifice, but one year Theseus, an Athenian, killed the beast. Indeed, the suite shows the Minotaur being slain at some point, but it has risen from the dead again towards the end of the series.
The surrealists and Minotaur
While the links to the original Greek myth are tenuous, Picasso's preoccupation with the Minotaur figure was as keenly felt as the surrealists'. Picasso designed the cover for the first issue of the surrealist journal Le Minotaure published in 1933, the very year in which the legendary creature first appeared in a print from the Vollard Suite.
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Go to the home page of Picasso. Tales from the Labyrinth