Picasso’s Sacred Monster Eats Chicago: A Mystery Solved?


What does this mysterious sculpture depict? Popular answers include: an aardvark, a bird, an Afghan hound, and one of Picasso’s lovers. But to my eyes, it looks like a sphinx—a monster that (like the anamorphic skull haunting Hans Holbein’s famous painting The Ambassadors) only snaps into focus when viewed from an oblique perspective. To perceive the recumbent sphinx you have to approach the piece not from the front but from behind and to the side.

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