The Fall of Icarus: Picasso’s Vision of Europe in the 1950s

PicassoPainted for the new Unesco Building in Paris in 1958.

Conclusion of an essay by T.J. Clark in the London Review of Books, June 2

On the wall, what did I see? I saw that Unesco had at last found its symbol. At the heart of Unesco, at the heart of the new building…we’ll be able to see the forces of light defeat the forces of darkness. We shall see the forces of peace defeat the forces of death.

We’ll see all this accomplished, thanks to Picasso’s genial production, and alongside this combat, which is great like an antique myth, we see a pacified humanity which is present, on the shores of the infinite, at the accomplishment of its destiny [on voit une humanité pacifiée qui assiste sur la rive de l’infinie à l’accomplissement de son destin].


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