The famous Picasso’s Blue Period was the name used to explain the painted works of art that were done using blue color. These paintings were mainly famous from 1901 to 1904. This was a significant period in poetry and art because it marked a building block of a new era in art (Ravin, 2004).
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The artist by the name Pablo Picasso was one of the ancient pioneers of such modern paintings. It is the main reason why the period was named after him. The blue period is the duration when Picasso illustrated his lowest moments in life. Most of his inspirations were from Spain, but the drawings were done in Barcelona and at times in Paris. The great works of Picasso, despite the blue period, are still felt to date.
Ravin (2004) adds that marketing his arts was a major challenge for the first time until a time when he attended several exhibitions in Britain and gained outstanding medals leading to his fame. The exact time of the day that the blue period began has never been known.
Most researchers argue that it was a time during the spring season in 1901. He was praised for the different styles that he had as well as the different shades of blue that he artistically applied to make the paintings attractive. During this period, there were few artists. However, Pablo emerged the best. The artist was prominent and made perfect painting when he was as young as twenty years. He made a lot of money when his painting career was still on.
The Picasso’s blue period was a time of personal expression and emotion. This happened at a time when one of the artist’s greatest friends decided to commit suicide due to frustrations in life. This was a tough time for Picasso but the artist soon recovered from the trauma that had left him seriously depressed.
He got several topics and issues to base his paintings on. He made several paintings that showed resentment and painted them using a gloomy blue color. The different shades that he used brought out mood and expression of feelings that clouded the region during that particular time. This was one of the blue times that the artist’s reports faced (Ravin, 2004).
In the tenth month of the year 1900, Picasso together with a close friend relocated to Paris. They settled in a residential area secured for artists and researchers. He went through several moments of sadness that formed a strong basis for more paintings. For instance, he faced dire poverty in the early times after settling in Paris.
Again, the fact that most of his paintings reflected his blue moments, these themes discouraged potential shoppers from buying the paintings. This was another contribution to his poor living standards. Paris remained a favorite place for his artistic works. However, the artist continually went to Barcelona until 1904 when he made Paris his permanent residence (Jansen, 2009). His friend lived most of his life in Paris as well. His friend (Casagemas) had also made several paintings featuring important aspects of the artist’s life.
These were paintings depicting the pain that Picasso went through after the loss of his great friend. These pictures were also constituted in the blue period despite the fact that the blue shade that Casagemas used was bright and did not bring out clearly the sorrow that Picasso had gone through. In one of the paintings, Casagemas had shown some part of a burial while the other one was a marriage ceremony.
The two contradicting events were explained very well with the use of light blue and dark blue colors respectively. The paintings were collectively called evocation, the burial of Casagemas. Picasso used to describe the blue period evolved between love, prostitutes, beggars and drunkards. Visiting different regions in Spain and the self murder of his great friends were top on his list of themes. Among the saddening moments that colored the blue period were the deaths of his two greatest friends (Jansen, 2009).
Casagemas took his life away by shooting himself to death. This happened after a woman he really adored rejected his proposal. The proposal was made in a cafeteria in Paris. After this occurence, Picasso added another series of pictures to his gallery. He was not in Paris when Casagemas took away his life.
Upon returning, the news was devastating and he spent his mourning period in one of the Casagemas studios. During this time, his painting work did not come to a halt at all. He prepared great paintings that were to be displayed in an exhibition that was to be held later in Vollard. Picasso felt very lonely during that period of mourning and the paintings that he did during that time depicted sorrow.
He painted them using bright blue color. One of the paintings was that of his friend Casagemas in his coffin. According to Jansen (2009), this was in the year 1901 and it is a period when he went into deep depression. People were not ready to hang gloomy pictures in their homes. Hence, it led to poor sales of the paintings. The main drawing that Picasso made was of Casagemas standing next to a lovely lady and a woman who held a child in her arms, probably the child’s mother.
Jansen (2009) explains that Casagemas was painted with a blue color that symbolized life. The young lovely lady in the picture was shown with one leg almost reaching on to Casagemas. One of her fingers pointed upwards. It was a sign that despite the fact that Casagemas surrendered his life for love, he was not defeated. This was a major point in the blue period. These paintings are still in museums due to the great roles that they had played during that period.
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The two titles of paintings namely ‘life’ and the ‘evocation’ had a theme that clearly showed that Picasso had wished his friend all the best. This is well depicted in various paintings in these albums. In the two themes, the pictures show Casagemas in the company of beautiful ladies and explain the main reason why he lost his love life. Picasso also adds pictures of the great family that he wished his friend would have.
Most of these paintings can be found even today in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Other paintings were plain portraits of Casagemas in a blue and gloomy mood. Prominent in his paintings was the theme of blindness as well. Another painting was that of a blind man seated in a table with a woman who could see. In the same set of paintings were paintings of naked ladies or women who had children either in the back or simply in their hands.
The blue period was not an easy time for Picasso. He chose the color blue to depict the sorrow that life had left him to go through. These paintings were his best and he had decided to have a different color to paint his pieces of art. In this case, he chose pink. The period that followed was named the rose period. According to Jansen (2009), most of his paintings after this trying moment were pink, a color that he decided to use to mark the end of his sorrowful moments.
It did not imply that he was over with his sorrows. There was a time when Picasso visited one of the female prisons in Paris. The prison was called St. Lazare and nuns were the guards of the prison. From this visit, he made different paintings of some of the prisoners as well as nuns and at times painted the two parties in the same piece of art. Different hues of blue were used to distinguish the nuns from the prisoners since one party was free while the other remained completely locked under bars.
The paintings of the prisoners depicted a lot of sorrow in the faces of the women prisoners. It was very difficult for him to erase the life stressing moments that he had gone through. Pink was used to bring a different theme to the great paintings that he had in his gallery. During the end of the blue period, Picasso had demonstrated social aspects of life were clearly evident.
Jansen, M. (2009). Blue period 1901 – 1904. Web.
Ravin J. G. (2004). Representations of Blindness in Picasso’s Blue Period, special article. Retrieved from https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaophthalmology/fullarticle/416257