Rufino Tamayo (1899 - 1991)

Figura prehispánica V. Guerrero, Nayarit (1976)
Prehispanic Figure V. Warrior, Nayarit

Lithograph on paper
height: 56cm
width: 45.5cm

Donated by the Fundación Olga y Rufino Tamayo 1997


Over a period of more than twenty years, Tamayo collected a number of Prehispanic sculptures from West Mexico, including the state of Nayarit, and one of these figures provided the inspiration for Guerrero. The warrior is commonly depicted in Mesoamerican art, and this figure wears a tall helmet and nose ring and his ear is elongated with heavy adornment, all indications of his status. With widened eyes and an open mouth, the warrior raises one arm in a clenched fist, while holding a shield with the other. In this lithograph, Tamayo reveals his desire to respect, as he often termed it, the 'limitations' of the two-dimensional artwork. The artist manages to capture the expressive action of the warrior while utilising the simplest of lines, as can especially be seen in the lower body of the figure. As with the other lithographs in the Figuras Prehispánicas series, this warrior is surrounded by strong patterns that lend the surface of the paper a textured stone and water-like effect. This contrasts with the bold purple splash that Tamayo added after printing.

Terri Geis, 2008

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