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Masson’s placement of the musical instruments, and the rhyming of straight and curved lines, allude to the pre-war Cubist painting of Picasso and Braque. The flowers and dead bird could be seen as evoking life and death in somewhat conventional terms. However, the red pomegranate halves express a more bloody and violent vision. The fruit’s seeds may symbolise the force of life and regeneration, but the red interior also suggests viscera. Masson associated the pomegranate with his memory of the injured skull of a soldier in the First World War.

August 2011