Thoughts on Picasso

It was another 68 degree and sunny day in Seattle for our art museum excursion yesterday! Mike and I saw the Picasso exhibit last night… there were a ton of his works there (both paintings and sculptures), and they were arranged by “galleries” chronologically so we saw his earliest work first and the work at the end of his life last. Seeing them was a very thought-provoking experience.

His first etchings seem to be non-descript, like he was still just learning the mechanics of how to draw and paint. Then, when he was in his early twenties, a close friend of his committed suicide, and his paintings got very dark for awhile (literally and figuratively). He painted his dead friend in a casket, and he also started painting people who were injured and not quite right. For instance, he painted a woman with a cataract in one of her eyes. In the painting, she just sits there staring with no particular expression on her face… but she has only one good eye. Then he moved from the city to the country and started painting rose-hued paintings centered around gypsys, clowns, and acrobats (people he saw traveling around the countryside). He then returned to Paris and became exposed to African art so for awhile his art takes on a very African, stark nature. This led him to experiment with Cubism, a technique in which he made extensive use of geometric shapes to form images… sometimes through painting and sometimes through sculpture. He later looked back on this period and said “To make pictures was less important then to discover things all the time”.

Picasso went through several more periods of his life, including ups and downs. He went through a couple wives and several more mistresses and also weathered World Wars I and II. During happy periods of his life, his art seemed more optimistic, and during depressing periods (such as the Wars and when his wife at the time became ill) his works were more sombre and death-centered. And, no… for those of you who wondered, my memory isn’t super fantastic. I had a handout from the museum that talked about all of this stuff so I was able to look back at that to find his quote and some of the specifics I forgot. πŸ™‚

Mike and I were both very struck by this painting… it’s big and seemed to command the room through the use of the geometric shapes and the bright colors:

Dora Mar

There was also a 3d life-sized bronze goat statue that we both liked. I also liked a lot of his cubism work. Sometimes it was completely unrecognizable (he had about fifty paintings throughout the galleries called “Head of a Woman” that didn’t look anything like the head of a woman), but the stark geometric lines and shapes were very striking and commanding. His surrealist work later in his life was similar… it was almost as though he completed a normal-looking painting and then chopped it into pieces and glued them together and odd angles and in odd ways. When describing the surrealist style, he said “I am always trying to observe nature. Likeness is important to me, a deeper likeness, more real than reality, to the point of being surreal.”

Another interesting thing was the broad range of people at the exhibit. I heard a lot of people speaking French, some speaking Chinese, some Russian, and some other various languages. Apparently Picasso has a wide following culturally!

The Seattle Art Museum itself was huge… four or five floors. Mike and I were tired when we finished looking at Picasso’s works because I had worked late and Mike had a headache earlier in the day, so we figured that we’d come back another time to look at the rest of the art. That actually turned out kind of good. It was nice to just focus on a single artist for the evening.

I’m tired today, but the nice thing is that it’s a Friday! And I don’t think that I have any meetings today. And I’m stopping at Starbucks today! In the interest of saving money I’ve decided to only stop at Starbucks on Fridays (and maybe on days when I especially need it). I haven’t missed Starbucks too much, because Amazon has a huge variety of free teas that you can just take. They have an organic jasmine green one that’s made by a Washington company about a mile away that I really like, and that’s become my typical go-to tea. But today I think it’s a Starbucks day. πŸ™‚

It’s been gorgeous the last three days (probably because Mike and I bought raincoats on Monday), but I think today it’s supposed to get colder and rain so I might be trying out my raincoat for the first time today! Ok, time to get ready for work! πŸ™‚


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Filed under The Arts in Seattle

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