Goat’s Skull, Candle and Bottle is one of a series of works inspired by the theme of war and in particular the execution of a Greek Communist hero and resistance fighter. It is painted in oil on canvas, in agrisaille palette, worked in Picasso’s so-called stained glass manner, whereby every form is enclosed in a dark outline. The simplicity of the tonal range belies Picasso’s conscious choice of three different white pigments to achieve the many textural effects deployed within the image.
Annette King is a Modern and Contemporary Paintings Conservator at Tate. She is currently carrying out research into the Picabia works in the Tate collection and contributing to a research project on Tate’s Surrealist paintings.