Saturday, October 8, 2011

Picasso's Girl on a Ball 1905

This is Picasso's Girl on a Ball from 1905 at this time Picasso was highlighting the nature of the outcast using the Saltimbanques or Circus Performers. This is a bleak landscape with a horse, woman, child and a dog in the background in a bare bronze field. In the foreground we are drawn to the titular girl and what is presumably the Strong man. They are differentiated by their proportions as well as what they stand and sit on. Supple and lean, balancing on the ball is the young girl whose delight is topped by the red bow in her hair. The Strong man is seated in a classic pose his strength at rest, yet watchful of the girl. It is not clear whether this is a lesson or merely practise, whether this is a father daughter relationship or that the Strong man's protective concern is merely that of a member troupe.
It is Picasso's social conscience that pokes you as you realise that these people were the refugees, the gypsy's of the era. Here Picasso is humanising them in the form of the girl yet also suggesting that this is an insular group isolated by the community at large through the protective imposing figure of the Strong man.
For me personally this piece is astounding because this is not what comes to mind when you think of Picasso. I know that if I could pain the human form like this I would never have ended where Picasso did. Perhaps I do not understand why Picasso developed the way he did because it seems like a backward step for him. Where as Matisse developed a joyous colour and form, Picasso descended from this to something that is in my opinion less than his true potential.

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