Pablo Picasso light-painting a bull, 1949.
If I had to pick a single figure for a colophon—an insignia or logo for use as a trademark—I’d probably go with this or with some adaptation of the red Toreador in the Toreador Fresco I posted the other day. The photo is part of a series that specializes in making Picasso look like some weird alchemist or sorcerer, a role that has really colored my interpretation of the piece. There’s something about his bull and the Toreador that reminds me of the less sinister tricksters of world mythology—Anansi and Kokopelli, for example—whose timeless, allegorical energy inspires me. It’s so lively, yet so simple.
I think in some way that the minimalism of Picasso’s bull and the antiquity of the Toreador are, like mythology, a lifeline tapping into our instinctual and spiritual past as a species. Thousands of years haven’t put too much distance between us and the primitive, magical dreams of Lascaux; the endgame is still, as Tennyson’s Ulysses declares, “To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”
In other words, Pablo Picasso: not an asshole.