Bellows in Malaga: Thomistic Insights via Pablo Picasso

Keywords: Aquinas; genera; contrary opposition; Picasso; organization; one and the many


The paper begins by clarifying St. Thomas’s teaching on the problem of the one and the many by answering three questions: 1) What is a genus? 2) How are genera organized according to contrary opposition, and what role does virtual quantity play in such organization? 3) How do a knower and the thing known constitute opposite poles of a genus? With these answers firmly in hand, we then turn to an analysis of art, with particular reference to Picasso, with a view to clarifying three complementary points: 1) How the artist and his work constitute a genus, and how the work of art and the viewer constitute a genus; 2) How the work of art affirms the generic relation of sense object and sensate being; 3) How the artist subordinates the practical to the speculative in his work and what this implies for the role of the artist in an increasingly practical age.


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