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Taureau (Bull)

Pablo Picasso1955/1955

Galleria d'Arte Moderna - Milano

Galleria d'Arte Moderna - Milano
Milan, Italy

Pablo Picasso made his first visit to the Madoura ceramic workshop in Vallauris in 1936, accompanied by the poet Paul Éluard. He was fascinated by the pottery, the work of Suzanne and Georges Ramié, a married couple who attempted to revive traditional production practices. Starting from 1946, Picasso began working in Vallauris, taking an interest in the entire creative process involved in terracotta pieces, from sketching through the design of the shapes to the final decoration. However, the artist did not handle the throwing process himself, but instructed others as they did it. In the case of "Taureau," we are dealing with a serial production; 100 pieces were made in 1955, with the one held in the Vismara collection being the 82nd.
Shaped like a round-bodied jar, it has a high and narrow neck and a single handle, decorated with an engobe coating—a thin layer of earth that was applied before it was fired—in black, yellow, and light blue, forming the design of a bull. The shape of the bull is carefully adapted to that of the container, with Picasso using the jar's curved surface and characteristics to match the design: the tail is identified through the handle, the globe-shaped portion is the body of the bull itself, and the neck of the vase bears the flags. The presence of the small rods and flags which have impaled the bull during the bullfight is used to signify that this sport—bullfighting—has inspired the iconography. Though the jar was not designed to be a unique piece, Picasso pays great attention to decoration, working to enrich the piece's functional component.

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  • Title: Taureau (Bull)
  • Creator: Pablo Picasso
  • Date: 1955/1955
  • Physical Location: Galleria d'Arte Moderna di Milano
  • gift: Italy
  • Physical Dimensions: w23 x h29 x d23 cm
  • Provenance: Donation
  • Type: painting
  • Medium: Paint on ceramics

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