Picasso Portraits / Elizabeth Cowling / ENGLISH
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Picasso's main subject from beginning to end was the human figure, and the portrait remained his preferred genre. His earliest portraits were made from life and show an early ability to capture likeness and to indicate character and frame of mind. Around 1900, Picasso created portraits of astonishing variety, reflecting the full range of his innovative styles - Symbolist, Cubist, Neoclassical, Surrealist, Expressionist. But no matter how extreme he deviated from the conventions of representationalism, Picasso never entirely abandoned drawing from the sitter, and continued to create portraits of classical beauty and naturalism. For all his radical originality, Picasso remained in constant dialogue with the art of the past, and his portraits often referred to canonical masterpieces, which he chose for their suitability to the looks and personality of his sitter. He treated his favorite old masters as naughtily as he did his intimate friends, caricaturing them and indulging in fantasies about their sex lives that reflected his own obsession with the interplay of eroticism and creativity. His late suites of free "variations" based on Velázquez's Las Meninas and Rembrandt's The Prodigal Son, both self-portraits, allow him to reflect on the complex psychological relationship between artist and sitter and the continuities between past and present. When Picasso depicted people close to him, the nature of his relationship with them inevitably influenced his interpretation. The focus of this book, however, is not on Picasso's life story but on his creative process, and although it is largely chronological, the chapters are organized thematically. The chapters are structured thematically. It covers in detail Picasso's use of well-known poses and formats, his sources of inspiration and his identification with the preferred Old Masters, the role of caricature in his expressive view of the portrait, the relationship between observation, memory and fantasy, the critical differences between his male and female figures Depictions of women and the motivations behind his disregard for decency and the extreme change in the appearance of those portrayed.