"The Unknown Masterpiece," is full of references to alchemy. The date of its' execution, 1934, is a reference in this vein. Elsewhere in its composition, Picasso incorporated important elements from Durer's alchemical master print, Melencolia, in which the number "34" has an important cryptic significance. In alchemy, the two numerals in the number "34", refer to the two planes of spiritual and worldly existence, which are often symbolized by the triangle and the square. The great work, or goal of alchemy is itself symbolized by these numerals 3 and 4, which, when placed together, can represent the conjoining of heavenly and earthly opposites or consciousness.
A 16th century alchemical engraving
The Gesture of Hermes Trismegistus, "As Above, So Below."
The Downward Pointing Finger
Concealed Yin-Yang symbol in the head and hair of Picasso