Lichtenstein's Bull Profile Series references Picasso's famous treatment of this subject in 1945, Le Taureau. In Picasso's rendering the bull is gradually simplified through eleven successive re-workings of the lithographic stone from a naturalistic depiction of the animal to a mere cypher. In the final impression the bull is pared down to its essence, an archetype embodying virility and strength. This progression from naturalism to radical simplification is intimately associated with the lithographic process, the refinement of the image through repeated erasure and re-drawing on the stone. By contrast Lichtenstein's series is pre-conceived, based on collages and drawings which he had executed beforehand. Rather than reflecting a visual search for the bull's true form through abstraction, the Bull Profile Series is a gentle parody of such grand aspirations. The prints are graphically slick, using a combination of screenprint and lithography, with the addition of line cut, a process more often associated with commercial printing. There is no history of the image's development, no investing of the subject with personal symbolism, only a playful obscuring of the animal's shape, until it is rendered indecipherable in a colourful arrangement of geometric shapes. The series encapsulates David Sylvester's observation in an article in American Vogue in 1969 that 'Lichtenstein takes soulful subjects and paints them with cool'.