Was repeating my Even Better Than The Real Thing study day on postmodernism on Saturday. (Depending on the quality of the recordings, we may upload this to replace the last one on iTunes – watch this space). But as part of the prep for this time around, I found myself getting really obsessed with Picasso (1881-1973) – arguably the uber-artist of the 20th Century. What particularly struck me was his series of self-portraits. But the reason for placing these here is that they strike me as a relevant follow-up to the previous post on General Dannatt. Picasso’s prodigious genius is clearly evident in the first few. But as his extraordinary life proceeded (with all its monstrosities and eccentricities), he grappled with all the horrors of the century (culminating in his most political, terrifying and fraught painting Guernica). As he did so, the old certainties of the previous centuries disintegrated, leaving only the residue of human phobias and terrors. And this is most starkly illustrated by his last self-portrait painted within months of his death (which, at the age of 91, he would of course have known was only a matter of time). Chilling.
1896 (aged 15); 1900 (aged 19); 1901 (aged 20, aka Yo, Picasso)
1901 (start of his Blue Period); 1906 (aged 25); 1906
1907 (aged 26); 1938 (aged 57, in unfixed charcoal); 1972 (aged 91)
(Click on pictures for their original context)
I have a funny feeling that there will be some more Picasso posts in due course…