‘Give a child the chance the chance to be scared of needles.’
Reading the headline you’d think this would be a straightforward message about infant immunisation. It is however, an early work from Picasso exploring the dangers of a small spider-legged man attacking a young girl with a model of the Seattle Space needle.
Scary? Sure. Implausible? More likely.
Despite this, the child is showing no signs of fear. She cannot see the horror about to engulf her, merely a blank expression, devoid of all emotion. Look at the eyes. They are eyes that have witnessed untold trauma, nothing fazes her. Either that or she has inoperable cataracts.
In fact, not many people realise that Pablo Picasso spent his formative years as a second rate art director. All his signature scrawls are here. The side and front profile of the face being impossibly visible, the amputated left arm gripping itself in an abstract salute to introspection and the subtext of a small girl with a beard and tits tells us we’re dealing with a man who has problems with the traditional boundaries of gender and sexuality.
This was Picasso’s final foray in the world of advertising, sadly he never scamped again…