This famously laconic sketch of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, above, by Picasso appeared on the cover of a French journal marking the 350th anniversary of the first volume of Cervantes’ masterpiece. Its genius lies in its incredible immediacy — and in the way it never fails to raise a smile.
Inspired by Inferno, the first part of Dante’s Divine Comedy, this is a monumental work, measuring six metres by four metres and containing no fewer than 180 figures. Commissioned in 1880 by a Paris museum, it was due for delivery in 1885. Rodin worked on it right up until his death, however, with the result that it was never cast in bronze in his lifetime.
The painter imagined the scenes described by Dante as a limitless world without gravity, a vision that allowed him to experiment ceaselessly: the poses of his figures needed to conform to no rules.