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Drapery? Where? You mean those whitish-bluish triangles and trapezoids? Picasso was twenty-six when he painted this. By the time he was fourteen, he had mastered the skill to create the illusion of drapery or any other illusion he might have felt like creating. There was big money in illusions in the 1890’s. But not for […]

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A friend sent me this postcard from Boston this summer:  Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), “Rape of the Sabine Women,”   1963. It’s as unmistakably Picasso as “Guernica,” 1937.  Both paintings are from an artist who was a life-long renouncer of the insanities created by politics, war being pre-eminent among them.  He was an anarchist. He had mastered […]

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Picasso didn’t like to travel.  When he was in his twenties he would go back to his native Spain every now and then, but always with his painting materials.   Later, when he was absurdly rich and able to go anywhere in the world, he preferred to stay close to his studio.  He worked.  He worked […]

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Without preliminary sketches, Karen produced this exquisite line drawing of a face. She drew without a model or an image. It’s her invention, probably a self-portrait after her disappointment with the earlier drawing project. (See the still life set up in the previous post.) Picasso comes to mind. I don’t know if Karen was paying […]

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Today is Picasso’s birthday. Yesterday the New York Times ran a two-page article about the analysis of his 1904 painting “Woman Ironing” which shows that it is painted over another painting, a portrait study, also by Picasso. Strapped for cash, he regarded the older, unfinished painting as mere canvas. Go to http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/10/25/arts/design/hidden-picasso.html?ref=design to see the […]

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In 1910 in an ornate little church in Borja, a village in northeastern Spain,  a local painter named  Elias García Martínez filled a narrow white wall space with a little fresco called “Ecce Homo.”  It shows a scroll on which the suffering thorn-crowned Jesus-head is turning its eyes skyward.  Over the years the fresco deteriorated […]

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Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) was a prodigy.  He drew incessantly as a child, filling the margins of his school books with sketches.  His father, an art teacher, is said to have handed his son his own brushes and paints, saying, “here, you have surpassed me.”  When Picasso was fourteen, his drawings looked like this. Vincent Van […]

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Picasso was born October 25, 1881, in Malaga, Spain.  He spent his teen-age years in Barcelona, a hot bed of anarchy in the 1890’s.  His friends were anarchist writers and artists, ten and twenty years older than he:  Santiago Rusinol (1861-1931), Ramon Casas (1866-1932), and Isidro Nonell (1873-1911).  They discussed the writings of Proudhon, Bakunin, […]

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If the question posed in the previous post seems simpleminded—of course it’s not art, it’s only an illustration!—then why do all beginning painters and limners get obsessed with illustrating what they see? And more often than not they get stuck in that obsession. Just this morning, a student (in a painting class that I was […]

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One of Picasso’s pithy pronouncements is, we should all be able to draw like children. This bit of wisdom is open to interpretation.  He himself had mastered the techniques of painting and drawing by the age of sixteen: perspective, anatomy, chiaroscuro, the works. When people look at his mature work, however,  and say  my five-year […]

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