Centaure, 1961-67 by Pablo Picasso
The ancient Greek Homeric figure sees a return to Picasso's pictorial quest into mythology, a feature from many of his 1950s studies in ceramics. This wonderful golden statue ironically reverses the process as the traditional three-dimensional aspect of modelling is reduced to two-dimensional linear relief by employing the thin piped effect of the gold. However, despite the simplicity of line, Picasso captures the dynamic action of this half-horse, half-man brilliantly. The inclusion of its phallic extra 'leg', a favorite ancient Greek fertility device, continues the artist's 'man as beast' theme as well as emphasizing the centaurs' drunken brawl at a wedding.