Pablo Picaso. The Old Guitarist. (1903). Blue period.
With the beginning of the year 1900 Pablo Picasso is very dependant with the Spanish painter Carlos Casagemas whom it met in Barcelona. They divide a time the same workshop. Casagemas finances even their first voyage to Paris. After their installation, whereas Picasso adores the environment of the expensive Montmartre hillock in Toulouse Lautrec, Casamegas falls in love with a dancer from the Moulin-Rouge, Germaine. This adventure turns badly and dark Casamegas in depresses and alcohol. The February 17th, 1901 Casamegas goes back to Paris while Picasso is in Madrid, tries to kill Germaine then commits suicide of a ball in the temple. Pablo Picasso is terribly affected by these events, it paints his friend in his coffin but this emotional trauma marks the beginning of its blue period. (1901-1904). Of course blue is the dominant color of works and the topics are dark : death, old age, poverty, alcoholism, the infirmity, prostitution. The faces and the bodies are deformed and stretched with the way mannerist of Greco that Picasso studied. The Old Guitarist reflects the states of hearts of an artist marked by the dramatic loss of his friend.
The point of view is at the level of the face of the guitarist. What strikes the glance it is the trunk of the man who is very lengthened.
The face is on the left tension field, just with the top of a natural point of interest. The guitar is on the right tension field on two natural points of interest.
4 plans follow one another on pictorial space. Ground in the foreground, the pavement in the second plan then a low wall and sky in background.
The painting is built on the ascending diagonal from left to right. Many guiding lines are rising, in particular the guitar. Other lines induce an effect of break, the body seems broken especially because of the position of the head and the angle which it forms compared to the trunk.
The man is thin and his abnormally long fingers. The body is stretched and deformed by the suffering. This old guitarist seems starveling.
The body is emaciated enough so that the bones of the leg are perfectly visible.
While making swivel the face one realizes of his expression better. The eyes are closed and the open mouth. The old guitarist is in suffering. The image of the friend of Picasso on his bed of death is always present in its spirit and seems to haunt it, the fabric is an attempt at exorcism of this state of heart.
The clothing of the old man is perforated on the shoulder. To the suffering and the thinness of the character the artist adds poverty.
Only certain zones of the body of the man seem enlightened of a certainly lunar white light, it comes from in top and gives an almost unreal and ghostly aspect to the man.
Colors : Harmonize between cold colors.
Similar paintings :
Pablo Picasso. The poor. (1901). Blue period.
During the blue period Picasso often represents the poor and the beggars. The bodies are often curled up, the barefeet, but miserable same people, as at Murillo, remain worthy.
Pablo Picasso. Dormant drinker. (1902). Blue period.
The posture of the drinker is arched, it seems to be cold. Work wants to cause mercy. The same mercy that the painter has to feel while seeing are friendly Casagemas to sink in alcohol.
Pablo Picasso. Breakfast of a Blind man. (1903). Blue period.
In this scene of kind the blind man gropes to seek the objects. It is human condition of which it is question here. Picasso tests compassion for this disabled person and wants to make us divide it. As it has to test compassion for the fate of its friendly painter Carlos Casagemas.