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Picasso made this series of prints between 1970 and 1972 around the age of 90. The vitality and energy it displays is therefore quite remarkable. The variety of etching techniques he employed is equally astonishing. Picasso depicts scenes ranging from the theatre to the brothel. He quotes from many old masters including Degas, Delacroix, El Greco, Goya, Ingres, Manet, Rembrandt, Raphael and Velazquez, not to consume them but to invoke them and thereby perpetuate them. The series is a pantheon of heros and friends. The subjects of sexuality, old age, youth, potency and impotence are treated with an affectionate irony. The prints manifest a voyeuristic and vicarious enjoyment of carnal pleasure.

August 2004