Woman with a Tambourine
Pablo Ruiz y Picasso, Spanish, 1881 - 1973
This print depicts Dora Maar, a photographer with whom Picasso began a decade-long love affair in 1935. He met the emotionally volatile young artist, whom he called his private muse, during a tumultuous time in his own life, when his marriage to Olga Khokhlova had disintegrated as a result of the pregnancy of Marie-Thérèse Walter, yet another mistress who served as a muse. Maar is shown here with fractured features and maniacal movement that reflect her capricious personality. Her motion recalls that of the bacchantes, female followers of Bacchus, the Roman god of wine and ecstasy, who traditionally are shown playing music and dancing wildly in procession behind him. As Picasso often identified himself with mythological figures, including Bacchus, it is fitting that he depicted Maar as one of the god’s devotees.