Picasso's Old Guitarist
Pablo Picasso’s Old Guitarist I visited the Art Institute of Chicago and many paintings and pieces of art caught my eye, but I almost lost my breath when I laid my eyes upon Picasso’s The Old Guitarist. I was a good thing that a bench is in front of the painting because I needed to sit down and admire the power that it exuded. The painting is one-dimensional, is flat, and doesn’t have a distinct background to it. It is done in a monochromatic color scheme and depicts a very thin, frail, blind man holding a guitar, which is brown and departs from the blue monochromatic color scheme, who is sitting cross legged and the upper half of his body is bent over. This man holds the guitar very close to him as if he didn’t have anything else in the
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The image does not seem to have been intentionally placed to add any significance to the old man. The Old Guitarist is one of several of Picasso’s Blue Period paintings were the canvas has been reused. The image in the background is that of a woman which is what Picasso intended to originally paint, but for some reason decided not to and decided to paint over it instead of throwing away a perfectly usable canvas. This is not the only painting in which Picasso decided to reuse the support. Picasso simply painted over the figure of the woman and did not try to add a base layer of paint to cover her up or turn the canvas. This shows that Picasso had immense concentration when painting that the image of the woman did not distract him. La Vie is the only known Picasso work where it is evident that he turned the canvas 90 degrees.
X-rays were taken of many of Picasso’s painting to see what the underlying image was. The Old Guitarist is unique because the complete form of the woman cannot be seen whereas in other paintings there is a complete composition underneath. The young woman’s head, shoulders and long hair are able to be seen without the use of an X-ray. One could also make out the breasts without an X-ray, but they are less visible. The X-ray is extremely useful when deciphering that below her head, and to her left, a second, more ghost-like female image appears, her head seemingly bowed