Head of a Warrior
Boisgeloup, January 1, 1933
Bronze with patina
121 x 69 x 32 cm
Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso, Madrid. On temporary loan to the Museo Picasso Málaga. Work on view at the Museo Picasso Málaga exhibition "Picasso Sculptor. Matter and Body" (May 9 – September 10, 2023)
In the 1930s, while close to Surrealist circles, Picasso cultivated a form of expression outside Freudian philosophy, dreams or irrationality. By making use of found objects, dignifying waste materials and manipulating domestic items, he managed to give his characters an unusual and even surprising nature. In Head of a Warrior, the eyes are modelled on tennis balls and the head is decorated with a classically styled helmet known as a hoplite, crowned with a crest.
‘I asked Pablo one day why he gave himself so much trouble to incorporate all these bits and pieces of junk into his sculptures rather than simply starting from scratch in whatever material – plaster, for example – he wanted to use and building up his forms in that. “There’s a good reason for doing it this way”, he told me. “The material itself, the form and texture of those pieces, often gives me the key to the whole sculpture […] it’s not that I need that ready-made element, but I achieve reality through the use of metaphor. My sculptures are plastic metaphors.”’
[Picasso in conversation with Françoise Gilot, Vallauris, 1951, quoted in Françoise Gilot and Carlton Lake, Life with Picasso, London, Virago, 2013, p. 297]
What was happening in 1933?
- Picasso creates a collage for the cover of the first issue of 'Minotaure' magazine.
- Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist Party wins the elections in Germany.
- Franklin Roosevelt is sworn in as president of the United States in the midst of the Great Depression.
- In Spain, women vote in national legislative elections for the first time.