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Family of acrobats with a monkey

Painting, 1905, 104×75 cm

Description of the artwork «Family of acrobats with a monkey»

Young Pablo Picasso created “The family of acrobats with a monkey” in 1905 using various techniques. He portrayed a fairly typical family for his time. Having resorted to the diagonal composition to create dynamics, using a special brush stroke, light and warm color, the artist caught and conveyed the sentimental mood of this scene. This painting from the collection of the Gothenburg Art Museum is one example of the movement towards expressionism and cubism during the “pink period” of Picasso.

The "pink period" in the work of Picasso lasted from 1904 to 1906. Then he used cheerful orange and pink shades in his paintings - unlike the cool, gloomy tones of the previous “blue period”, when the artist lived in extreme poverty, constantly hungry and experienced alienation. All this he expressed in blue-tinted images of emaciated, emaciated, miserable souls, who barely survived on the sidelines of society.

However, in August 1904, 24-year-old Picasso met Fernanda Olivier, a romantic relationship with which favorably influenced his work. The delight of physicality and sensual joy began to supplant the once excruciating despair. Perhaps this was one of the reasons for the change in the style of Picasso's painting. Harlequins, circus performers and clowns began to appear in his paintings, which will inhabit the canvases at different stages until the end of a long career as a painter.

But if the works of the “blue period” seem to express the artist’s grief, then the heroes of the paintings of the “pink period” - such as “The family of acrobats with a monkey” - do not grieve, although they still demonstrate humility to fate.

Picasso’s works in the “pink period” begin to lead their own lives in the artistic spirit of their time - the painting itself acquires the greatest importance, and not its theme and content. The painter continued to experiment, making his characters anonymous, more likely representing the artistic matrix of a person, rather than the person himself. And although this is a step in the direction of abstract art, this is not the most significant feature of the “pink period”. This period is less popular with the general public than the “blue period”, but it has a much more important historical and artistic value. During these years, Picasso began to develop stylistic methods that made him the most significant artist of the XX century.

The breakthrough of the “pink period” was a smooth line, which Picasso began to develop in 1904. Unlike later works, challenging the rules of linear perspective and other established methods of drawing, “The Family of Acrobats ...” is more realistic from the traditional point of view. However, her lines are as suggestive as the later more abstract works of the artist. This fluency and sophistication of the line is Picasso's unique contribution to expressionism. In other subtle details, such as turning the body of a child, one can also observe certain steps towards cubism, the ancestor of which Picasso became a few years later. In this sense, the picture represents an interesting stage in the development of the artistic style of the author.

The “Pink Period” marks the end of development, during which Picasso found himself as a figurative artist. Over the years spent in Paris at that time, he absorbed French culture, replacing the gravity of his “blue period” with Parisian elegance. After the completion of the “pink period”, Picasso continued to create figurative works from time to time, but this ceased to be his main style.

Author: Vlad Maslov
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About the artwork

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Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Genre scene

Style of art: Expressionism

Technique: Watercolor, Gouache, Pastel, Ink

Materials: Cardboard

Date of creation: 1905

Size: 104×75 cm

Artwork in selections: 15 selections