Magnet / Picasso / Child with dove / 54 x 79 mm

Magnet / Picasso / Child with dove / 54 x 79 mm

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The Child with a Dove is one of Picasso's earliest works: he was twenty-one or even younger, but his own style is already evident. He probably painted it during his second visit to Paris while staying with Spanish friends. By this time he had seen, studied and made his own of contemporary French painting: he had taken Toulouse-Lautrec's way of quickly rendering a visual impression with few bold lines and strident splashes of color and made it his own. He had also learned from Degas how to look at a character sharply and from a distance. In Kind mit Taube there is a new thoughtfulness, a poetic empathy for the subject, qualities that would characterize his work in the years to come.

The masters who mentored Picasso in the early years of his career - Toulouse-Lautrec and Degas - had observed and recorded the figures they painted with cool objectivity. Picasso had followed her example in his first works, but here a new relationship is introduced between the observed figure and the viewer: a relationship of empathy, of human sympathy. And in this early work we find a characteristic of Picasso's painting that would characterize his later work: the painter is deeply involved, wholeheartedly absorbed in the object depicted.

The reason for this intimate approach to the subject may lie in the subject matter of this work. Picasso's father, Don Jose Ruiz, had made pigeons a particularly popular subject in his paintings, and as a boy Picasso must have seen pigeons often, as well as his father's paintings of them. Childhood memories must have played a role in this.

However, the painting technique is quite new, and it too is interesting for what was to come later. Shapes are rendered in simple, sinuous lines, and colors are balanced in an unexcited tricolor gamut dominated by greenish tones. The dazzling palette of Impressionism that Picasso brought to Paris and that he had hitherto employed is here discarded. The colors are reserved and controlled by strict lines.

This painting was made well before Picasso's Blue Period - and it is perhaps the earliest of his works in which he appears as a clearly defined individuality. He seems to have left his apprenticeship behind and for the first time gives us an expression of his own not very cheerful vision of the world. A vision he shared with others of his turn-of-the-century generation, who saw the world around them as paradise lost.

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