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Self-Portrait with Palette
Pablo Ruiz y Picasso, Spanish, 1881 - 1973
Picasso made this self-portrait at age twenty-five. In preparatory drawings he placed a brush in his right hand, but he chose not to include it here. Its absence is notable; it may be Picasso sending a message to viewers of art: creativity is not merely a manual skill but an inner vision.
The ovoid head, staring eyes, and long ears are elements Picasso borrowed from an ancient sculpture. In this painting he responds to the carved head’s enigmatic, masklike expression. And since it came from an archaeological site not far from Málaga, his birthplace, it also connects to Picasso’s own sense of Spanishness.
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