Pablo Picasso ( Spanish, 1881 - 1973 )

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General Description

This painting of a simplified female figure was made at a crucial crossroads in Pablo Picasso’s early career. It reflects the artist’s experiments with the flattening of space and fragmentation of forms into abstract geometric structures. This conceptual and stylistic exploration would eventually lead him to develop Cubism, a groundbreaking aesthetic in which objects are depicted from multiple viewpoints rather than one. Here, the violet contours in arching forms interlock to define the simplified anatomy of the figure. Rough areas of modeling in rust and ochre on the face, arms, and chest help define the body and also create an abstract play of space, line, and surface.

Excerpt from

Nicole Myers, DMA label copy, 2018.

Web Resources

  • Khan Academy
    Watch this video about Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, a painting he created around the same time as the DMA's Bust.

  • Tate, London
    Learn more about Cubism, an artistic style developed by Picasso and Georges Braque during this time period.