Picasso, Paul and Harlequins
I’ve been indulging in a little online gallery viewing as I can’t spend the day at the National Gallery London as do E in London, Chris of Kent and Paul of Kent! I am off to Sydney to see the Modern Masters from The Hermitage collection so I guess not too much to grumble about. More on the Sydney Exhibition after I have had the pleasure of seeing it.
What I was specifically looking for in my internet surfing was to see if Picasso painted pictures of Clowns because they are a great way to illustrate artistic interpretations of human facial features. And what I first found was this delightful painting of Picasso’s son Paul in a Clown Suit created in 1924.
I found the discussion about Picasso and the painting (from www.pablopicasso.org) very interesting so today will share this insightful information with you and also give you some relief from facial features! I have broken up the quoted text with other paintings Picasso did of Paul.
During the early 1920s Picasso's production alternates between Cubism and a Classical style. Side by side with Cubist still lifes of the utmost structural refinement we find figural paintings in his Classical style, mostly with subjects drawn from mythology. A large number of drawings - usually pen drawings - also date from those years. In addition there are pictures of dancers and harlequins, often quite realistic, which testify to Picasso's continuing interest in the world of the ballet and the stage (which was especially kindled by his commissions for the Ballets Russes). Picasso had reached the age of forty and was now in full possession of his creative powers; the most varied impulses of his artistic will found their outlet in different styles.
In addition to these works, a new kind of picture begins to appear in these same years, and Picasso discloses yet another aspect of his complex personality: the portraits and sketches of his young son Paul. With them we discover a new facet of the artist's many-sided genius. These works lay no claim to raise or to solve new artistic problems: they belong wholly to the artist's personal life, and he kept nearly all of them.
Precisely because these works were not intended to solve any formal problems but were produced casually, almost playfully, they disclose the full breadth of Picasso's technical mastery. It is precisely in the works where his eyes and hands are freest that the richness of his creative ideas is most clearly and fully disclosed.
Looking at a portrait such as this (Paul in a Clown Suit), no one would suspect how much of Picasso's experiments with pasted papers, how much Cubist discipline has gone into these casually tossed-off little works. And yet it is these features that account for the portrait's sure mastery and raise it high above most artists' realistic portraits. Picasso's affection for his little boy is merely the painting's starting point; what makes it a masterpiece is Picasso's creative sureness.
The Hero Image today is Family of Saltimbanques (circus performers) painted by Picasso in 1905. Picasso has painted himself into the scene as Harlequin and is holding onto the little girl’s hand. Art Historians believe the little girl might possibly have been Picasso’s beloved younger sister, Conchita who tragically died from diphtheria at the age of seven. (PabloPicasso.org)