In his last decades, Pablo Picasso issued a series of challenges to some of the most acclaimed painters of the past—Diego Velázquez, Rembrandt, Eugène Delacroix, Edouard Manet—as if asserting his preeminence not only in the history of Modernism but also in the entire history of Western art. Picasso boldly took on some of these masters’ most celebrated works—Las Meninas, Les Femmes d’Algers, Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe, among others—either wholesale or as single figures extracted from well-known compositions, translating the originals into bulbous, multi-scaled anatomy, graphic shapes, and exuberant patterns. The resulting images were part Oedipal father-slaying, part homage, part satire, and part parody. (It could be argued that the great majority of Picasso’s works after the 1950s were parodic of his own earlier inventions, with phenomena such as two-eyed profiles, which were...


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