One of the most touching periods of Pablo Picasso’s work is the blue time. At this time, the closest friend of the artist passes away because of unrequited love, the entire inner state of the master undergoes dramatic changes. The artistic technique of painting is also changing. Cold blue color is an expression of longing, frustration, kind sadness, coldness – it can be interpreted in completely different ways, but for some reason the artist chooses exactly the blue color palette. Drama, sadness, manner of writing, color scheme – everything that is characteristic of Picasso’s “blue time” we see in the painting “The Old Guitarist”.
In tattered rags, with his back bent and legs crossed, the man we see in Pablo’s painting, according to many art historians, is a tribute to another Mannerist artist – El Greco. The enclosed space of the picture makes this old man bend, presses on him. Despair, a feeling of pressure and endless loneliness lies in this canvas.
Thin fingers, outstretched hands – all this betrays the physical weakness of the depicted person, but with all this, the elder turns out to be blind. It is worth noting that blindness is depicted by Picasso in many canvases, as a sign of complete helplessness and desolation. At the same time, paintings depicting blind people are created by Picasso in such a way that they cause the greatest emotional response from the viewer.
It is noteworthy that during the X-ray analysis of the picture, the original drawing was found on it – a breastfeeding woman, also painted in blue. Her figure was located directly “behind” the old man, and images of a young cow and a calf were also recognized in the painting.
Year of painting: 1903.
Dimensions of the painting: 121.3 x 82.5 cm.
Writing technique: oil.
Genre: genre painting.
Gallery: Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, USA.