Fine Art-Art Discourse-Verses Inked
The Old Guitarist by Pablo Picasso-
The Old Guitarist is an oil on canvas, which stands at an impressive four by two, two thirds of a feet. The piece was created by Picasso, sometime during 1903-1904, and rests at The Art Institute of Chicago, Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection.
The delineations of the image speak for themselves. A frail, wizened, careworn man, possibly blind, or just might have struck the note of his life. Fashionably beat, with his ill-fitting robe, which on its part is much worn at the shoulders. Something Ginsberg would have been proud of perhaps, and Burroughs for sure would have never got out of. The frame of the man is anteriorly bent over his guitar, which he almost holds in an embrace, as it gently rests over his laps. Your average, abated Barcalonian.
It is matter of no wonder that Picasso, during his post fame days would spent the entire day at some Spanish bar, doing what he probably did second best. At the end of the day, he would doodle something on a paper, perhaps tissue, and tada, the check was served. Something it must have been to be Picasso, as it had been most certainly to be Burroughs, Ginsberg, or Chengis Khan for that matter. As it is every bit to be the Old Guitarist of Picasso.
The Advent of Cubism:
Pablo Picasso along with Georges Braque, could be said to be the founding fathers of Cubism, a popular art movement from the early 20th century, which implemented the use of geometric patterns, to bestow upon the image its dimension. The Girl with the Mandolin-1910, Portrait of Daniel Henry Kahnweiler – 1910, Figure dans un Fauteuil (Seated Nude, Femme nue assise)-1909-1910, Juan Gris, Portrait of Picasso, 1912 among others may be said to be examples of Picasso’s work during the cubist era.
Yet during the time when the Old Guitarist came into existence, Expressionism was what, which was considered avant-garde. A movement which was itself influenced by Modernism, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, and Symbolism. The same span of time in the artist’s life coincides with his blue period, which was influenced by his indigent living conditions, and the committing of suicide of a dear friend. The period in between 1900 and 1904, when the artist compulsively took to monochrome, using mostly shades of blue and green, with occasional presence of some other colour, to subtly soothe the scene every once in a while. The Blue Nude, The Blind Man’s Meal, Melancholy Woman, Woman with Folded Arms, among others could be sited as examples of creations from the blue period. Not to forget, the Old Guitarist itself.
About The Old Guitarist:
The Old Guitarist on its part was created just after the death of the friend, Casagemas, a time when the artist was particularly sympathetic towards the state of the poor. More empathetic if you may kindly say so. The image also espouses a certain degree of distortion, which is clearly depicted in the posture of the seated man. The torso been reclined at a skewed angle to the crossing of the legs. The brown guitar, is the only break from monochrome in the entire image, and adequately fills up the space that encompasses the desolate man.
There is a mysterious presence of an overlapping image on the old guitarist, which as per assumptions are the lines from a previous sketch of a woman, which Picasso had started out at, but decided otherwise. The limbs and head of which could not be totally done away with, even since the idea was rejected, and still make their apparitions felt.
There is this poem, you all might be interested of. A certain Wallace Stevens, who was inspired by the painting, had composed a piece of poetry which went by the name of, The Man With the Blue Guitar. A piece of virtue, as it is, what however the authorship seemed to have found on the internet is a piece by the one, the only, the Allen Ginsberg, which on its part goes by the name of, ‘a desolation’. The lines of the piece pretty much speak for themselves, and may be subject of much heated discussion some night of yonder. What however, the readers may note is the similarity that they may think of in between the old man of Picasso with his guitar, and the canvas, and the beat man Allen Ginsberg with his beat Harmonium and…Well we can just call them Ginsberg Verses.