The Death of Casagemas, 1901[caption id="attachment_4648" align="aligncenter" width="620"] The Death of Casagemas, Paris Summer 1901; Musee Picasso, Paris[/caption] Picasso returned to Paris after Casagemas's death and this posthumous portrait shows clearly the wound in the right temple- a detail from the police report that clearly had an impact on the need to memorialise his friend. Lying, as if in state, the clammy skin tones are illuminated by the light source; a candle, symbolic as the bringer of life: a contrast to Casagemas's own dark, brooding personality. A second version of this painting in blue was also created and appeared again in The Funeral of Casagemas.
Self Portrait, Paris Late 1901 - the start of Picasso Blue Period[caption id="attachment_4647" align="aligncenter" width="620"] Pablo Picasso, Self-portrait, 1901, Musée Picasso, Paris[/caption] Aged 20, Picasso looks much older in this portrait; his face is gaunt, his eyes sunken and his beard unkempt. He looks directly out of the canvas, challenging us to ask him about his experiences. Wrapped in a large overcoat, he exudes an air of melancholy and isolation. His use of the blue tones here surround him but they are no comfort in this time of grief and hardship. This portrait was the start of Picasso's Blue Period and encompasses all that he tried to achieve after this.
La Celestine (Woman with a Cataract), 1903[caption id="attachment_4645" align="aligncenter" width="620"] Pablo Picasso, La Celestine (Women with a cataract), 1904, private collection[/caption] Interestingly, the positioning in his self-portrait is mirrored here in the portrait of the old woman with the cataract. Picasso's life in Paris had brought him into contact with the poor and destitute and this sympathetic portrayal of an old woman shows how Picasso felt there must and should be dignity showed to those who were less fortunate. This Picasso Blue period seems to be perfect for showing society what was lying beneath it. We can start to see the elongated forms that Picasso had begun to use in this figure and Celestine deeply dark coat is reminiscent of Picasso's clothing.
Two Sisters (The Visit), 1902[caption id="attachment_4649" align="aligncenter" width="620"] Pablo PIcasso, The Two Sisters, 1902, Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg[/caption] Upon Picasso's return to Barcelona in 1902, Picasso began a piece about 'a Saint-Lazare whore and a mother' as he put it in a letter to his friend, Max Jacob. The two themes clashed frequently for Picasso, and with Casagemas's death being due to love and also with the tragedy of his mother dying upon hearing the news of her son; it is understandable that he wanted to explore this further. The final version, along with the title, Two Sisters, would indicate that he had a change of heart and wished to two figures tenderly comforting one another. The blue tones in this work have a more spiritual feel to them; light illuminates their faces, casting shadows on the wall behind. With the heads covered and feet bare, this has the appearance of a Renaissance religious painting and Picasso captures grief perfectly. Again, this important work of the blue period allowed Picasso to delve into the very essence of grief and this was something that he would use to create his masterpiece.
La Vie, 1903 - Picasso's 'Rhapsody in Blue'[caption id="attachment_4646" align="aligncenter" width="620"] Pablo Picasso, La Vie, 1903, Cleveland Museum of Art[/caption] Several versions and preparatory works for this and many of the works he had already undertaken led to this final tribute to his friend: La Vie - The Life. If we can compare painting to music, Picasso brought together all the elements of his skill to enrapture the senses. On the left is Casagemas and Gabrielle clinging onto one another. Skin tones are icy cold and despite the apparent physical closeness, here is a couple who could not be further apart. The reason for Gabrielle's refusal to marry Casagemas was partially due to his congenital impotence: he could not offer physical love and this would appear to be the reason for Picasso portraying him semi nude, whilst Gabrielle is naked and downcast. This is not what she wished for and for Casagemas, who points tenderly to the mother and child, this is not what he wished for either. Between the two pairs, the canvases showing the embracing couple, entwined in a position of pure melancholy. The heartbreak that Picasso felt at the death of his dear friend manifested itself in an outpouring of blue that resulted in some of the most haunting paintings and the style that would move Picasso on as an artist and allow him to throw his body and soul into his work.
For more information on Picasso Blue Period:
[easyazon_image align="none" height="160" identifier="B01AHH9VT6" locale="US" src="https://www.dailyartmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/51mVJCjALL.SL160.jpg" tag="dailyartdaily-20" width="100"] [easyazon_image align="none" height="160" identifier="0810955148" locale="US" src="https://www.dailyartmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/41BMQafbnaL.SL160.jpg" tag="dailyartdaily-20" width="107"] [easyazon_image align="none" height="160" identifier="B00CR6CYFO" locale="US" src="https://www.dailyartmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/612MNhxKPzL.SL160.jpg" tag="dailyartdaily-20" width="142"]