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The Old Guitarist: Pablo Picasso

Essay by   •  April 6, 2011  •  Essay  •  615 Words (3 Pages)  •  2,311 Views

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During the time Pablo Picasso was in his "blue period" Picasso tries to tell stories of the world of the poor through his art. "The Old Guitarist," which was done during Picasso's "blue period", is one of his most famous pieces of work from the twentieth century art world in which he belonged to. Upon viewing Picasso's "The Old Guitarist", one immediately notices the subject, the aged musician, and perhaps the soft blue color scheme, but looking further, one realizes several disturbing details that give the viewer just a glimpse into this poor mans life and struggles.

First of all, Picasso's intention with this particular work just as his other works during his "blue period" of art, was to really illustrate the feelings of his subjects as one can clearly see he has done in "The Old Guitarist". One has no problem understanding the direct message Picasso wishes to portrait. Right away the viewer is shown a portrait of a lonely old man holding a guitar. Picasso chose a guitarist for his subject knowing that this it is a solo instrument, and therefore, the old man spends his time playing it without a band to play along side with. There is also nothing that would show that the man is playing to an audience, since he is the only one depicted in the picture. Continueing in the theme of loneliness, Picasso portrays the guitar as if it is the only thing the old man has in the world, he is seen clutching it in his hands as if it was his only possession.

Consequently, Picasso has chosen to change the colors of the subject from being realistic to a blue-grey tint that hints at the mood of the musician. Picasso's use of blues and grays, which are colors seen more at night suggesting the end of something, in ones mind possibly the old man's life. The grayed colors used give one the feeling of nostalgia. It also gives one a sentimental feeling and conveys the old mans feelings of longing for better times. Picasso has used these colors effectively to give the viewer the idea that the musician is deep in thought as his last days look to be upon him.

With closer inspection it is realized that the old man is blind. The upsetting realization of the old mans loss of one of his most important senses gives one the knowledge that the musician embraces his music more closely because of his visual impairment. The twisted position of the figure, legs crossed and head bowed laying across his shoulders, gives the viewer the perception that the old man has been blind for many years if not his entire life. The subtle detail Picasso surprises one with, is the fact that the old mans guitar is string less and therefore silent. The realization of the fact that the sightless old man sits with his guitar in complete silence makes the whole image very disturbing and heartbreaking, and really shows one the old mans sense of hopelessness.

Just like the saying goes "a

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