Pablo Picasso. Danae, 1962

Pablo Picasso • Danaé, 1962

“The history of Danaé is one of the best known Greek myths: a princess locked up in a tower with whom Zeus fell passionately in love. She was sequestered in a tower because an oracle had told her father, Acrisios, that his daughter’s son would kill him, which eventually happened, as oracles were always proved right. Zeus, who used to change shape to seduce the objects of his desire, this time descended in the form of a golden rain. The result of this bizarre union was the hero Perseus, the future slayer of the Medusa. The erotic and psychological possibilities of this subject had stimulated many of the greatest painters from the Renaissance onwards: in exchange for their favours, women want money, money, and more money. The composition of the sleeping Danaé is built on a black structure which is a type of Spanish ”vargueño” – a cabinet placed on a trestle table. Traditionally this piece of furniture was used to lock up gold, money, jewels and important papers. Danaé was locked up in a tower just as the cabinet was locked too. Zeus found the key.
In this evolution of states, the background is black; the first state is printed in creamy white, giving a bluish gray tone while the grooves remain black… The next state, printed in yellow, alludes to the golden rain, as, like the gold coins, Danaé’s body is golden whereas her bed remains gray. In the third state, the background wall and half of the body take a violet red color (passion); the other half of the body and the rain of gold coins remain yellow. Then in the fourth state, the wall turns into a blue sky…”
-Brigitte Baer, Pablo Picasso – Prints in Progress: Rare States and Working Proofs from the Atelier, Galerie Michael, 1999
Pablo Picasso. Danae, 1962
PICASSO, Pablo, 1881-1973
Danaé, 1962
Linoleum cut printed in colors on Arches wove paper
Dated twice in the plate
A rare color test proof of the fourth and final state, before the edition of 50 on Arches paper.
In this state, the colors are layered in the following order: black, creamy white, yellow, red, and finally blue.
Printed by Imprimerie Arnéra, Vallauris.
Published by Galerie Louise Leiris, Paris.
The myth of Danaë has inspired artists throughout the ages, including Caravaggio, Rembrandt and Klimt.
She is used as the quintessential symbol of divine love and transcendence. Utilizing rich, primary colors, Picasso beautifully captures the essence of the great myth, while adding his personal technique and flourish to the composition.
Our example is an especially rare test proof, and can usually only be found in museum collections.
Bloch 1084; Baer 1286 IV.B.
18 x 25 1/2 in.