Double Study of the Left Eye (Academic Study)

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‘The Ruiz Picasso family moved from Malaga to Corunna in 1891. For almost two years, beginning in October, Picasso studied drawing at the Instituto da Guarda, the fine arts academy in Corunna where he proceeded from making ornamental studies to figure drawing and drawing from plaster casts of antique statues. Many of the classical images, like this work, were copied from Charles Bargue’s Cours de dessin (1868), a general academic reference for art students that “consisted of oversized lithographs”, according to Natasha Staller.

The mundane academic activity, especially drawing from the sculpture of Antique civilizations, required the precise examination of the objects and helped launch Picasso into an investigation of line, space, and from that became completely his own. He copied and borrowed from Greco-Roman and Egyptoian sources, as well as Iberian and African art forms, which are known to have inspired his development of Cubism’ [1].

Double Study of the Left Eye […] is a copy of part of a plate by the French artist Julien [Bernard-Romain Julien], which is reproduced in the book Cours Préparatoire, published in 1864. Palau mistakenly believed that Pablo had executed this piece from a plaster model’. [2].

‘The Museum’s drawing is impressive in its elegance and purity of line, especially with respect to Picasso’s age at the time. The student matriculation number “88” that appears at the lower right, below the young artist’s signature, enables us to date this work to the 1892 to 1893 scholastic year, when he attended the decorative drawing classes taught by his father, José Ruiz Blasco (1838-1913). Picasso would have been about eleven years old. The simple, sharply focused technique, traditionally used to represent images of classical antiquity, must have fascinated Picasso, for even in his late works he strove to reduce visual elements to their simplest outline’ [3].

[1] y [3] GIMÉNEZ, Carmen (ed). Collection Museo Picasso Málaga. Malaga: Museo Picasso Málaga, 2003, p. 181.
[2] VENTUREIRA, Rubén y Elena Pardo (eds). Picasso azul y blanco: A Coruña, el nacimiento de un pintor. La Coruña: Hércules, 2014, p. 80.


What was happening in 1892-93?

  • The Ruiz Picasso family moves to Corunna, living at Calle Payo Gómez 14, 2º D.
  • Paul Gauguin paints 'Mata Mua'.
  • The British writer J. R. R. Tolkien is born.
  • France occupies the kingdom of Dahomey, now the Republic of Benin.

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