The Old Guitarist by Pablo Picasso Essay

  • Topics: Art
  • Pages: 5
  • Words: 1200
  • Date added: May 29, 2020

Pablo Picasso pained The Old Guitarist in 1903, during what most art historians would call his “blue period.” It features an old man, apparently suffering from poverty, hunched over and strumming his guitar. The painting is housed at the Art Institute of Chicago, where it is currently on display. Among numerous artworks of Pablo Picasso, The Old Guitarist is one of the most exceptional paintings. It has its unique charisma and character. The Old Guitarist by Pablo Picasso was created in 1903 in a very dark period of the painter’s life. One of his close friends committed suicide which changed Picasso’s perception of his surroundings. He has become more sympathetic and started paying more attention to the ill, poor, and outcasts. It was also the reaction to his personal experience since he went through impoverishment in 1902.

What is Old Guitarist by Pablo Picasso Essay?

Pablo Picasso created The Old Guitarist in 1903. According to numerous historians, he painted it during his so-called “blue period.” Its central figure is an old man who is seemingly in misery, bent over and playing his guitar. The famous Art Institute of Chicago keeps the painting. It is presently on display in the institute’s museum. The Old Guitarist Painting by Pablo Picasso contains an unparalleled story in every one of its elements. For instance, the blue palette outlines strong melancholy and sorrowful thoughts.
The almost lifeless figure of the guitarist himself reveals the tragedy and despair. The monochromatic color scheme destroys any clear understanding of the current time and place. Additionally, the painting does not contain only the guitarist figure. There are more figures presented in the painting that bring a deeper understanding of the painter’s mood. The understanding of these hidden figures allows reaching deeper into the painter’s thoughts and his determination to create a painting the way it remains now.

Three Figures Discovered in The Old Guitarist by Pablo Picasso

When viewed with the naked eye, you’ll only actually see the figure described above. Advanced analysis, though, using infrared and x-ray technologies, has revealed three additional figures in the painting. These include an unidentified animal, thought to be a sheep or calf, a woman with long, flowing hair, and a child.

When the analysis was completed by the Art Institute of Chicago, they shared their findings with the Museum of Art in Cleveland. It was then found that the figures identified beneath the top most layer of the painting were virtually identical to those found in a sketch that Picasso had shared with a friend in a letter.

It’s never been discovered why Picasso abandoned the original painting in favor of The Old Guitarist, or if the original composition behind the man was left intentionally. It is worth noting that those who are aware that the painting is atop this old composition can clearly identify the faint traces of the woman’s face over the man’s shoulder, as well as several components indicating the presence of the child and the animal.

Inspiration for The Old Guitarist by Pablo Picasso

Some art historians have made controversial claims that this was intentional. They postulate that The Old Guitarist by Pablo Picasso is a man who has failed in life, with the spectre’s of his family looming in his past. He strums at his guitar woefully, longing for the opportunity to live his life differently. There is, however, no indication that this is historically accurate.

Instead, the generally accepted interpretation of the meaning of the painting is based around the primary focus – the guitar. Picasso accomplished this by using a monochromatic theme throughout the painting, being only broken by the brown of the guitar. It is thought that the guitarist is destitute and playing as a means of earning a meager living. Because of this, the one thing that brings him joy (music and art) has now become a burden. Of course, the interpretation of The Old Guitarist by Pablo Picasso is ultimately limited to speculation. The artist is no longer alive and able to confirm or deny our suspicions. One thing that can be said, for sure, though, is that he had every intention of creating a melancholic scene and therefore intentionally chose the monochromatic blues that we see in the painting.

Additionally, this is known to be one of the first paintings during the artist’s Blue Period. He had abandoned his traditional education and techniques in art in favor of new and emerging trends, including symbolism, impressionism, and modernism. He did so because he was hoping to find world-wide fame as an artist. Many of the common traits of these styles can be clearly identified in the painting.

Three Hidden Figures Presented on the Painting

When you watch the details of the painting with your naked eyes, you can easily miss the most prominent elements of the painting. In fact, you can easily see only the main figures described. Nevertheless, once analyzing the painting by using advanced x-ray and ultraviolet technologies, the key three hidden figures are discovered. These three unseen figures are a child, a woman with amazing elegant hair, and some unidentified animal. The named animal can be a calf or a sheep.
The Art Institute of Chicago arranged the profound analysis of the Old Guitarist by Pablo Picasso. The results of the analysis were further shared with the Cleveland Museum of Art. Afterwards, the museum discovered that the hidden figures were the ones presented in the original sketch that the painter had shown to one of his closest friends.

No one knows why Picasso deserted the original painting or whether it was a conscious decision to create The Old Guitarist over the original canvas. The ones who learn about the old composition under the painting start seeing a woman’s face over the guitarist’s shoulder. They can also define some elements that indicate the child and an unrevealed animal’s presence.

The Old Guitarist by Pablo Picasso: Artist’s Inspiration

There are many controversial claims about the artist’s inspiration. They define the main figure of the painting, the Old Guitarist, as an ill, old man in misery, who certainly failed in his life. They point out that the hidden elements represent his lost family that only appears in his past. He plays the guitar and dreams of being able to live his life differently. Still, such historians’ assumptions have not been supported with facts. Besides, there are plenty of theories about the artist’s inspiration.

The interpretation that is generally accepted among historians and critics is focused on the single figure – the guitar. Picasso outlined it himself once painting a brown guitar on mostly monochromatic canvas. That is why the guitarist becomes a secondary figure. The main focus is on playing and the ability to earn a living once playing. Again, it makes playing a burden, though, before it was a joy. Surely, there are more speculations about the inspiration for The Old Guitarist than real facts. There is no one to confirm or negate any assumptions

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