Surreal Minoan bulls signed 'Preller' and dated '54' (lower right) oil on canvasboard 52 x 39.3cm (20 1/2 x 15 1/2in).
This picture is an example of Preller's preoccupation with metaphysics, metaphors and myths. The influences of El Greco and the still-lifes of Hieronymous Bosch are obvious, and the motifs seen here are almost Surrealist in fashion. A combination of influences are evident: African mythology and ritual, which is seen so often in Preller's early work, and which was inspired by his time camping in Swaziland and the Congo in the 1930s; Dogon art and animism, subject of many 1940s anthropological studies; Greek mythology, which becomes more evident in his 1960s paintings; and his trips to study the murals of Northern Africa and Italy in 1953. This work was completed at the same time as his resulting mural commission for the Receiver of Revenue Building in Johannesburg.