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Self-Portrait with Palette

Pablo Ruiz y Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973)
At the time he made this self-portrait, Pablo Picasso was in a phase of seeking inspiration and new ideas from the art of the remote past, including archaic Greece and the ancient and medieval heritage of his Spanish homeland. The stylized rendering of the face in this image, with large ovoid eyes and enormous black pupils, fine eyebrows, and long ears, reflects the impact of the sculpture of the ancient Iberians, a people that inhabited parts of the Spanish peninsula in pre-Roman times. This was Picasso’s first completed self-portrait in the act of painting. He wears a work shirt and holds a palette with his left hand, but the brush that should be poised near it is absent. That choice suggests that Picasso was concerned with the moment of concentrated creative thought, as communicated by tension in the body and the intensity of the gaze, rather than manual execution.

Object Details

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