Picasso liked to say that he didn't like music and yet several of his paintings show us the opposite. So what exactly should we think of these somewhat provocative statements in the image of this extraordinary artist and let's take a closer look at the different works in question.
A phrase that this great master of contemporary painting liked to proclaim, surely more by provocation than by truth. For it is enough to look a little closer at the extent of his works to see guitars appearing here and there in the paintings, and other musical instruments. Is it because of his Spanish origins and this instrument so representative of flamenco that Pablo Picasso transcribed it in different forms? In any case, one of the major paintings of this artist, undisputed master of the art of the twentieth century is the Harlequin with guitar painted in 1918. In addition to the guitar, the harlequin is also a major figure in the iconography of one of the founders of Cubism. In this painting, it is a harlequin with a guitar in his hand, a typical character of the circus and of these acrobats straight out of the commedia dell'arte. These popular characters that he loved so much such as the jota and the music of the bullfight.
Another masterpiece of the great master, the Young Girl with a Mandolin. For this oil on canvas, he used a young model, Fanny Tellier. Despite this fragmentation of forms typical of Cubism, there is a grace that emanates from the model, the elegance of a breast, her long hair, and that little something in her eyes.
Three musicians is another painting by Pablo Picasso from 1921, the last painting of synthetic cubism. In a bare space, there is a masked Pierrot playing the clarinet. To the right of the composition, a singing monk holding sheet music in his hand and in the center a harlequin (still holding it) playing the guitar. The harlequin is Picasso's main motif of the self-portrait. Once again the commedia dell'arte is not far away as well as the theme of music that this artist says he does not like.
L'aubade, oil on canvas of 1942 where once again one of the two characters of the painting totally remodeled holds a guitar or even an oud in his hand.
Pablo Picasso was not only a painter but also an engraver, an illustrator and a sculptor. Guitar is precisely here a sculpture in mixed technique made of sheet metal, wire and tin cans. The guitar always and still is, that of the popular music of his native Spain. As previously mentioned, the guitar is very present in the world of the acrobats that Pablo Picasso is so fond of. A way of paying homage to them and showing his attachment to popular music and not to the great music, which he insisted he didn’t like.
Pablo Picasso was also a friend of many popular musicians, but also of the most illustrious such as Satie, Stravinsky, Falla or Milhaud. Several exhibitions around the world have brought together numerous works of the artist that testify to the influence of the stage, the arts and music throughout his career.
The Guitar: One of the Major Figures in the Iconography of Pablo Picasso