Stepladder of Evolution in Picasso’s Acrobat’s Family with a Monkey
In Picasso’s "Acrobat’s Family with a Monkey", the stepladder like orientation of characters demonstrates an evolutionary procession.
At the top of the ladder sits the father, a high and mighty figure, like that of King Arthur. He towers above his family as if a king on a throne, looking down upon his royal subjects. He is the sole ruler and therefore must set himself apart from them. This is reflected in the position of his arms, which he keeps close to his body, like the independent child who refuses to hold his mother's hand when crossing the street. Even his manner of dress holds a stately aura. The yellow hat upon his head is golden and pointy similar to that of a royal crown worn by the great rulers of the past. The fringes on his costume surround his neck like the golden mane of a fearsome lion, king of the jungle. The leotard, itself, is an almost fleshy tone like soft peaches in the summer. It reminds one of an acrobat in costume during his death-defying tightrope act, high above the audience. His shoes, however, are thin and black like a bat in the night, contrasting sharply with the rest of the colors of the painting. It were as if they are demanding the well-deserved attention they have earned in all the effort it had taken them to get to the top. Yet, he looks down at the child with great hope, as would a king to his newborn successor, who would follow in his footsteps, performing great deeds to society and loved by all his people. It is also a look of unconditional love that cannot dissipate even if the child were to accidentally burn their house down or fall on top of him, breaking a few ribs in the process.
On the next step is the mother who is placed between the father, who towers above her, and the monkey, seated on the ground beneath her. Her position in the middle represents that the woman with the child is stronger than the monkey, but still weaker than the father. Though it is known that both men and women participate in professional sports, they are never pitted against each other due to the latter's weaker physical capacity. It is, also, common for men to act as president of a company, but most women only make it to the vice presidential level due to the "glass ceiling." Yet, the mother has more prestige and power than the grounded monkey because humans will always be superior to animals, mentally, technologically, and emotionally in that scientists have concluded that we are the most intelligent and complex of all species. Even her physical features contribute to her subordination in that the dress she wears bears more skin than that of the father. Just as society plays on women's role of sexuality, she too is forced into traditional feminist...