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Artwork Review: La Vie by Pablo Picasso
Posted by Kenny on 12/1/2008 2:40:05 PM (ET)
Filed Under: General
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As in other works of the Blue Period, Picasso’s theme is maternity, but there are suggestions of other themes, perhaps related, concerns. The canvases indicated in the background of the artwork appear to deal with love, sorrow and even solitude. Perhaps this is a commentary on sexual versus maternal love. Or it may be a variation on the Cycle of Life paintings popular at the time with some of Picasso’s contemporaries, representations of birth, youth and age.

La Vie - Pablo Picasso

LA VIE (1903)
Oil on Canvas

It is significant that, in a preparatory drawing for this work, the head of the young man was a self-portrait, but in the finished painting the features of the artist’s friend Carlos Casagemas were substituted. Casagemas, disappointed in love, had committed suicide; on hearing of his death his mother had died instantly.

The memory of this tragedy haunted Picasso and probably contributed to the melancholy which he expressed in the paintings of this, his first clearly defined style. They are characterized by their prevailing sad tonality and a placeless, timeless quality, It is as if, in his concern for human suffering -- the overall theme of the Blue Period -- Picasso had eliminated everything external to the human being.

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