Picasso's Variations on the Masters

Susan Grace Galassi, Author ABRAMS $39.95 (238p) ISBN 978-0-8109-3741-3
Iconoclastic yet deeply rooted in the art of the past, Picasso endlessly copied, reworked, paraphrased and transformed well-known pictures by artists who obsessed him--Manet, Velazquez, Ingres, Delacroix--as well as images by Renoir, El Greco, Rembrandt, Gauguin, Degas, Cranach and Courbet. In Picasso's ""variations"" on these artists, he pits his powers of invention against the conventions of his predecessors. The detachment afforded by the variations enabled him to revitalize his art, to assess his own position in the western European tradition and to take up lifelong themes. Galassi, an art historian and associate curator of Manhattan's Frick Collection, has produced a handsomely illustrated study that adds a new dimension to our understanding of Picasso's artistic evolution. Picasso's variations range from a wicked 1902 ink-and-crayon sketch parodying Manet's Olympia, to the wrenching ink drawings made in 1932 after Matthias Grunewald's Crucifixion, to an orgiastic rape scene from 1962 possibly modeled on Manet and Poussin. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1996
Release date: 09/01/1996
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