Artibus et Historiae no. 26 (XIII)

1992, ISSN 0391-9064

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DIANE APOSTOLOS-CAPPADONA - The Essence of Agony: Grünewald's Influence on Picasso

This article is an iconographic examination of how one of the twentieth century's leading secular artists was influenced by and attempted to retrieve the hapticity (i.e., the emotive physicality of the human body), but not the religious content of a well-known Christian work of art, with specific reference to the agonized figure of St. Mary Magdalene. The regular repetition of Crucifixion imagery in Pablo Picasso's work shows that the idea, iconography, and meaning of religious sacrifice and ritual death were significant themes for the artist. He felt a fundamental empathy for the work of Matthias Grünewald, which he discovered sometime between 1930 and 1932, and he was particularly drawn to the lamenting Magdalene in the Isenheim Altarpiece. Examples of the sixteenth-century German master's influence can be found in Picasso's Crucifixion drawings after 1932, as well as in Guernica.

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