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.
Published by Rachael Gracie Carver
Rachael ‘Gracie’ Carver moved to Norwich from Staffordshire, via Essex. She studied Design for Publishing at the Norwich School of Art and Design, and graduated with a First-class degree (with a principal's commendation) having completed a dissertation on the art and artefacts of Pompeii. She is currently Head of Design at a craft company based in Leicester. She has a significant interest in popular culture and you can find more of her writings on her blogs: Vermilion Goldfish Art Blog, Inked on Culture and The Inked Crafter. In short, she is a Music Obsessive, Ink Addicted, Crafter, Designer, WWE Nerd, with a wonderful husband and son, and three cats: one who is grumpy, one who is stupid, and one who is cuddly and secretly the family favourite. View all posts by Rachael Gracie Carver