Breaking the Vicious Circle by Remedios Varo, 1962. Oil on canvas.
One of Varo’s last paintings, Breaking the Vicious Circle (1962, fig. XXI), is emblematic of this tension between the past and the future, between social constructs and spiritual growth. An androgyne stands in a brown, shapeless void – s/he snaps the circular rope that has kept imagination and autonomy entrapped. The breaking of the circle opens up the torso of the figure to reveal a path through a forest. By breaking from the past and tradition, the figure unveils the spiritual journey that lies within the heart.1
Noah Lyons, “Remedios Varo: An Alchemical Artist,” Term paper (Graduate Theological Union, 2012), 20. ↩