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Battle of the Minotaurs (Minotauromachia)

Pablo Ruiz y Picasso, Spanish, 1881 - 1973

Made in Paris, France, Europe


Etching and engraving (seventh state of seven)

Plate: 19 9/16 x 27 3/8 inches (49.7 x 69.5 cm) Sheet: 22 5/16 x 30 3/8 inches (56.7 x 77.2 cm)

© Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Curatorial Department:
Prints, Drawings, and Photographs

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Henry P. McIlhenny, 1953

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Picasso created this magisterial etching during a dramatic moment in his career when he had abandoned painting. He uses the Minotaur, his alter ego, to portray the turmoil in his personal life. The intensity of his affair with his mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter had provided a stimulating alternative to the stifling existence he shared with his wife, Olga Khokhlova. However, the unplanned pregnancy of Marie-Thérèse threatened to put an end to their passionate romance, and he was fearful of Olga’s anger, here represented by the snarling horse. All four women in this print possess the facial features of the youthful Marie-Thérèse: the female bullfighter, the girl with the candle, and the two spectators in the window.