Welcome to my A-Z Blogging Experience.
This year I decided to share my love of art, specifically painting, for my A-Z theme. Throughout the month I’ll be highlighting artists or artwork that I especially like or that have meaning for me and for art. Disclaimer: I am not an artist, art historian or scholar, or any kind of professional in art. I just have a passion for it. I have spent many wonderful, fleeting hours in art museums. I’ve read quite a bit in art history and biographies of artists. I am no expert by any means, so take this as a personal, idiosyncratic look at some of the most beautiful and lasting creations made by the human heart and soul.
Blue Period: Picasso
From Picasso’s Blue Period (1901–1904): "The Soup", 1902
A sad, tired mother—tall, thin, typical of Picasso’s figures in this period—shuffling along in a long blanket-like robe that conceals her whole body. Her head is bent perpendicular to her body, parallel to the floor, as though the frame of the painting is pressing down on her. She holds out a bowl of soup, steam rising from it.
In striking contrast is the little girl, running, almost leaping toward the mother, her hands stretched upward for the soup. Her eyes are wide open, whereas the woman’s are closed. She looks eager, energetic, as opposed to the weariness in the woman’s slumping body. Is she happy or just desperate for food? It’s hard to tell. Hard to tell whether this is a portrait of people so poor that the soup may be the only food the little girl will have today, or whether it’s a scene of warm affection between a mother and daughter. It’s hard to see the mother as anything but worn out, but the girl’s attitude is ambiguous.
So many of the people in the Blue Period paintings look like that—poor, sad, beaten down by life. Art historians theorize that Picasso was deeply affected by the suicide of a friend. He did experience a deep depression, during which he painted many of the Blue Period pictures. That he turned his sorrow into art, as true artists do, is a gift to history and humanity.