The Cock of the Liberation (Le Coq de la Liberation)
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The Cock of the Liberation (Le Coq de la Liberation), 1944
Oil on canvas
39 1/2 × 31 3/4 in. (100.33 × 80.65 cm)
Gift of Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley M1959.372
Photo credit: Larry Sanders
© 2008 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
This painting is a telling example of how Pablo Picasso frequently expressed his passionate political convictions in his art. The proudly strutting rooster that dominates the center stage of the composition is a long-standing symbol of France. The image of the Gallic cock crowing to announce a new day celebrates the liberation of France from the Nazis in 1944. Picasso frequently used animals to fulfill anthropomorphic roles (famously in Guernica in 1937, another contemporary subject) and to serve as heraldic icons (his dove of peace). For this tribute to a momentous event in French history, the Spanish artist also adopted a bright palette with pronounced surface drawing more characteristic of French painting than his customary style.
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