The Painter and The Model

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“It is revealing that Picasso chose an anachronism as the theme of the series. We have already seen that he does not paint himself as an eighty-year-old in the Notre-Dame-de-Vie studio; he paints a figure that seems absurd to him, from the transition from the nineteenth to the twentieth centuries, the type of ‘official’ artist he has been rebelling against all his life (when he shows him with a beard, which is most of the time, we inevitably think of his father). However, the ridicule to which he subjects his artiste-peintre, masks a subtext that is easy to read in the series as a whole: Picasso’s close identification, after more than half a century, with the mission and purpose of the artist as he had been introduced to him in the 1890s and in the first long decade of the twentieth century, lasted until the 1914–18 war. Perhaps he no longer painted the model as an objective reality in his own space; perhaps, from 1909 at least, he painted things and figures as inseparable from his way of perceiving them; perhaps he would even have translated his perceptions into signs and subjected things and figures to inadmissible imagined transformations; but the act of painting continued to be for him essentially linked to his relationship as an artist with the phenomenal world, and this relationship reached its epitome, as in the nude art room of the Barcelona Academy of La Llotja, in the confrontation of the painter with the model. The terms of Picasso’s rebellion remained those of his pre-1914 rebellion against ‘official art’; they focused on the perceptual, imaginative appropriation of the model by the individual painter and on his commitment to the work as a reality that places its own demands on the painter and the observer”.

Christopher Green, “Una última defensa de la pintura: la serie de Picasso, El pintor y su modelo, 1963-1965”, in María Teresa Ocaña Gomá (dir.), Picasso en el taller, Madrid, Fundación Mapfre, 2014, pp. 97-98.


What was happening in 1963?

  • The Picasso Museum in Barcelona opened its doors under the name of the Sabartés Collection
  • The right to vote for women was implemented in Iran
  • The Beatles released their first studio album, "Please Please Me"
  • John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas

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