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Erik Satie
Along the right hand edge of "The Unknown Masterpiece," there is a concealed image of a dog-like creature, which is almost certainly Anubis, the Egyptian guardian of the underworld.
Anubis, 1934 Drawing

The strange animal form is also connected with Erik Satie's 1892 ballet, 'Uspud'. Satie was a Rosicrucian and a great friend of Picasso, who claimed him to have been one of the most important influences in his life. The two had come into contact working on Jean Cocteau's ballet 'Parade' in 1917. They were both deeply interested in Alchemy and the Occult.

Uspud is a both a mystical and satirical work; it is short and full of unusual imagery. Like "The Unknown Masterpiece," it depicts a Crucifixion. In the final act, there is a brief description of "black dogs with a golden horn" which strongly suggests a relationship with the hidden image of Anubis in "The Unknown Masterpiece." Immediately following it is a description of fish with the heads and wings of a bird, which for good measure, Picasso incorporated into exactly the same area of the composition, disguised as Olga's arm.

Fish-Bird iconography, 1934 Drawing

Uspud Act III

The Scene: Top of a mountain: a crucifix above.

Uspud, clad in homespun garments. prostrates himself before the crucifix: for a long time he prays and weeps.

When he raises his head, Christ unfastens his right arm from the cross, blesses Uspud and disappears. The holy spirit penetrates Uspud.*

Procession of male and female saints: saint Cleopheme spits his teeth into his hand: saint Micanar bears his eves on a platter the blessed Marcomir has his legs burnt to a cinder: saint Iduciomare's body is pierced with arrows, saint Chassebaigre, confessor, in violet robes: saint Lumore with a sword; saint Gebu with redhot irons; saint Glunde with a wheel: saint Krenou with a sheep; saint Japuis, with doves escaping from a cleft in his forehead: saint Umbeuse spinning wool: the blessed Melou the lame: saint Vequin the flayed: saint Purine the unshod: saint Plan, preaching friar: saint Lenu with a hatchet. Their voices summon Uspud to martyrdom. He is penetrated by an unquenchable thirst for suffering. He tears off his homespun robes and appears clad in the white tunic of neophytes. He prays again. A swarm of demons rise up on all sides. They assume monstrous forms: black dogs with a golden horn on the forehead; fish bodies with the head and wings of birds: giants with bulls heads. snorting fire through their nostrils. Uspud commends his soul to the lord, then gives himself up to the demons who tear him to pieces in a fury. The Christian church appears radiant with light and escorted by two angels bearing palm leaves and crowns. She takes Uspud's soul in her arms and raises him up towards Christ, who is resplendent in heaven. The End.

* Picasso also used imagery from Uspud for a series of bullfight-crucifixion sketches, made in 1959. These sketches depict Christ, crucified in a bullring, in the act of detaching his right arm from the cross, as described above.

JPG image (17 K) Anubis, 1934 Drawing
JPG image (25 K) Fish-Bird iconography, 1934 Drawing
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