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Peace, 1952
This well known painting by Picasso, which forms half of the suite, "War and Peace," contains an unusual inversion of bird and fish symbolism. In the painting, the fish bowl contains birds, and the bird cage contains fish.
Peace, 1952

Both "The Unknown Masterpiece" and "Guernica," contain similar inversions of fish and bird imagery. In "The Unknown Masterpiece," a concealed bird is standing upon a fish's head, and in "Guernica" a fishes body is hidden above a concealed bird.

Bird, Guernica

The inversion is almost certainly derived from the mystical ballet, "Uspud," written by the Picasso's close friend, Erik Satie, in 1892.


In Satie's play, an extraordinary crucifixion takes place featuring, "fish bodies with the heads and wings of birds" and other strange animal and demonic creatures, a number of which also make an appearance in "The Unknown Masterpiece."

For further information about this connection please read the following sections:

Erik Satie

JPG image (26 K) Peace, 1952
JPG image (32 K) Bird, Guernica
JPG image (27 K) Fishbird
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