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The old guitarist

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1904, 123×83 cm • Oil, Wood

Description of the artwork «The old guitarist»

In 1898, Picasso finally said goodbye to him a bored Royal Academy of fine arts and returned from Madrid to Barcelona. That was where the real life! Creative freedom, the first solo exhibition in the famous cafe "Four cat" and like-minded friends with whom you can discuss art and go on a binge in the brothels. The closest of them was the same age as Picasso, artist Carlos Casagemas. They were practically inseparable, and Pablo tried to support a friend suffering from unrequited love. But all has ended tragically: Carlos tried to shoot a girl who didn't reciprocate, after which he committed suicide.

After this sad event in the works of Picasso starts permeated with the melancholy "blue period". The artist for the rest of his days blaming himself for his friend's death and believed that they could prevent the suicide of Casagemas. In 1901, he paints several paintings, depicting Carlos in the coffin (1, 2), but critics find similar facial features and the heroes of the later paintings of Picasso. Whatever it was, the death of a friend affected the artist so much that he escaped only by work, splashing on the canvas of depression and despair. Almost all the paintings "blue period" carry this invisible imprint of death. Was no exception and Picasso "The old guitarist".

At first glance, this work creates the impression that a blind musician is depicted at the moment when he quietly breathed his last before he could finish the song until the end. He's spooky, almost merging with the background, his unnatural bent shape sheared off or the agony of death, and an agony of longing. Dark colors only enhances this effect. Alive on the canvas seems just a guitar: the viewer almost hears a shrill, gut-wrenching soul inside out chords. It is noteworthy that in "the Old guitarist" under a layer of paint emerges a ghostly woman's face. At that period Picasso was not always able to find the money for a new canvas, so I was forced to write one picture on top of another.

In 1937 the American poet Wallace Stevens wrote the poem "the man with the blue guitar," which is considered the dedication of "the Old guitarist". The poetic dialogue between the musician and his listeners Wallace gives in words the belief of Picasso that art is a lie that helps us see the truth.

Author: Eugene Sidelnikov
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About the artwork
Subject and objects: Portrait
Style of art and technique: Post-Impressionism, Oil

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