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© Pablo Picasso / Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York, NY.

Pablo Picasso: Bulls

As a precocious art student in the 1890s, Pablo Picasso often attended bullfights to sketch the powerful animals at the center of the traditional Spanish spectacle. Picasso’s fascination with bulls continued throughout his eight-decade-long career, and the artist often featured the animal in his prints, paintings, and sculptures as a symbol for his national heritage as well as his personal desires. Linking himself to the image of the bull, Picasso even posed for photographers wearing a bull mask on the beach in 1968. The Bull (1945), one of Picasso’s best-known works of the creature, depicts 11 views of a bull’s increasingly abstract profile—the classically-drawn figure evolves into a geometric cluster before ultimately becoming the minimalist lines of a childlike stick figure. The lithograph offers an insightful glimpse into Picasso’s deep repertoire of compositional styles and remains a relevant illustration of the artistic process: the tech giant Apple even uses the artwork to teach employees to design products in their most efficient iterations.

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