Bottle of Port and Glass


Pablo Picasso ( Spanish, 1881 - 1973 )

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General Description

Pablo Picasso's Bottle of Port and Glass from 1919 exemplifies the second period of cubism, called synthetic cubism, which for Picasso lasted from about 1912 until the 1920s. During this phase, the artist continued to seek art's liberation from the imitation of nature by addressing the basic elements of perception and pictorial notation. In synthetic cubism, however, spatial qualities are displaced by the assemblage of flat elements, often including different forms of collage, which further complicate the play of image and perception. The black-and-white silhouette of the port bottle is crisp and clear. The pipe and pouch of tobacco at right are highly simplified, almost schematic. Words and lettering (a characteristic element of the cubists' probing of reality and image making) are introduced into this composition in a central, rather painterly passage, which seems to hover at center left. Picasso's complex play with levels of reality is apparent in the introduction of an off-white frame or margin that bears his signature at lower right. The ascetic palette of analytical cubism has ceded to more heightened colors—a subtle range of blues and greens sets the tone of the composition.

Adapted from

Dorothy Kosinski, "The Cubist Challenge," in Dallas Museum of Art, 100 Years , ed. Dorothy M. Kosinski (Dallas, TX: Dallas Museum of Art, 2003), Pamphlet number 80.

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