The Weeping Woman by Pablo Picasso

Weeping Woman 1937 by Pablo Picasso 1881-1973
Weeping Woman 1937 by Pablo Picasso

The Weeping Woman (1937), is one of many paintings of Dora Maar by Picasso. When it comes to the Maar portraits, Picasso was sending a message, often to Maar herself. The portrait is representative of the way he perceived her, and it is said that when Picasso depicted Maar with a hat on her head it was, to him, a sign of madness – her madness. This portrait is hugely substantial in the portrayal of his relationship with Maar. She, as his mistress for many years, was replaced and was never able to let him go, and he played with those emotions. His humour dancing on the canvas through this vivid colour palette was his way of capturing his amusement at her cost. It is demonstrative of a portrait not requiring to be representative of the model’s physical appearance, but is more of an imposed mental state in human form. The lines are bold, the colours are daring, the statement is impudent. The story the viewer is seeing is the emotion of the model, the torment of her loss, whilst at the same time the excitement of the painter protrudes – two very conflicting emotions. Picasso mastered the art of communication through shapes in the early 20th Century when he was, along with a handful of other modern artists, began experimenting with cubism. As the century progressed his work loosened and settled with abstract, expressionism and surrealism (synthesis and experiment rather than adherence to a particular movement), challenging traditional artworks in the genre. To be able to capture the amount of raw emotion belonging to both Maar and himself, in a portrait that pushes against the establishment, is pure genius. But what else have we come to expect from Picasso.

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