Saturday, November 19, 2011

Wimsey and the Old Guitarist

Today we look at one of the most important paintings of Picasso’s blue period (why do painters never have a black and tan period?). The Old Guitarist (Pablo Picasso, 1903, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago). This painting was painted in Barcelona several months before Picasso began his halcyon life in Paris and it is in the blue style that he adopted in 1901 after the suicide of one of his good friends. The painting is also influenced by the work of the 16th century Spanish artist El Greco, particularly the angularity of the guitarist’s head. The painting has such a sad and desolate feel to it that I think the guitarist could benefit substantially from the addition of a commiserating Hound. See how much better the guitarist looks resting his head gently on top of a magnificently blue Hound! And see how the Hound is resting his head on the arm of the guitarist and staring intently at his fingers. He clearly wants the guitarist to stop playing his sad song and give him a scratch. The Hound may be blue, but he is still a Hound. Wimsey and the Old Guitarist.

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