In his six part Bulls series of 1973, Roy Lichtenstein builds on the artistic claim of the modernist era, which asserts that universal truth is revealed through abstraction. The artist in this series parodies this belief by calling into question the presumed distinction between realistic and abstract depictions.
Taking guidance from 1970s cattle sales catalogues, Lichtensteinbased the prints in this series on preconceived drawings and preparatory collages.
Bull II depicts its subject matter as centred and only slightly more abstracted than Bull I.Adjusting minor details, like the background and the colour scheme, the bull here appears in vivid blue, blending into an equally blue striped background. Both the primary colour and the patterns are signatures of Lichtenstein’s comic book style. The combination of blue and white makes the outline of the bull appear softer and the overall composition flatter.
Bull II examines the transformation of art forms, as well as the development of printing techniques. Lichtenstein deliberately chose to execute the prints in the Bull Profile series using a combination of lithography and line cut. The progression from naturalism to radical simplification is intimately associated with these printing processes, mirroring the trajectory of the series as a whole.