Boy with a pipe

Pablo Picasso • Painting, 1905, 100×81.3 cm
About the artwork
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Art form: Painting
Subject and objects: Portrait
Style of art: Post-Impressionism
Technique: Oil
Materials: Canvas
Date of creation: 1905
Size: 100×81.3 cm
Artwork in selections: 44 selections

Description of the artwork «Boy with a pipe»

In 1905, 24-year-old Pablo Picasso settled in Paris Montmartre, where he soon wrote “The boy with the pipe” (1905, private collection). This oil painting on canvas depicts a little Louis (p'tit Louis, pit Louis) - a local teenager who regularly came to the artist’s workshop. In his left hand he holds a pipe, his head is decorated with a floral wreath, and he sits on the background of a floral ornament.

This painting, which was sold at Sotheby's in May 2004 for $ 104 million, refers to the “pink period” in the work of Picasso (1904 - 1906). During this period of time, he used cheerful orange and pink shades in his paintings - in contrast to the cool, gloomy tones of the previous “blue period”.

The years of the “blue period” were difficult for Picasso - he lived in extreme poverty, constantly hungry and experienced alienation. All this the young artist expressed in blue-tinted images of emaciated, emaciated, unhappy souls who barely survived on the sidelines of society. 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.

And if the “blue period” of Pablo Picasso today enjoys wider popularity among the public, the “pink” has a much greater artistic and historical significance. In this period of time, he began to develop stylistic methods that made him the most significant artist of the 20th century. However, the contemporaries of Picasso did not distinguish between the “blue” and “pink” periods, considering them one. The artist’s depression subsided, but did not stop. It actually continued until the “Cubist period” (which followed the “pink”), and only in the subsequent period of neoclassicism did his work begin to demonstrate playfulness, which remained an outstanding feature of his work until the end of his life.

But if the works of the “blue period” seem to express the artist’s grief, the heroes of the paintings of the “pink period” do not grieve, although they still show 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. Picasso continued to experiment, making his characters anonymous, more likely representing the artistic matrix of a person, rather than the person himself. In this regard, the “Boy with a pipe” is similar toSitting Nude (1905, Picasso Museum in Paris). We recognize the type of person, not the person himself. The character is characterized, but this is not a portrait. And although this is a step in the direction of abstract art, this is not the most important feature of the "pink period" by Picasso.

A breakthrough of this short period of time was a smooth line, which Picasso began to develop in 1904. Although the picture"Acrobat family with a monkey" (1905, Gothenburg Museum of Art) is quite classical in style, its lines are as suggestive as the more abstract works of the artist that appeared later. This fluency and sophistication of the line is Picasso's unique contribution to expressionism.

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