02 February 2007

La femme qui pleure (Picasso Museum, Paris)

Ms Dora Maar, gentle reader… looking a little incongruous, don’t you think? One speaks of her ladylike appearance– that mane of well-groomed hair, that neatness, and that tidy hat- when compared to the fractured animal of her features- those hulking green hands, those broken teeth, that desperate bewildered expression in her eyes.

Into a crumpled handkerchief she weeps, a jagged whiteness that fails to hide her true feelings. She is incapable of artifice, her fractured face a reflection of how all that matters in her life has fallen to pieces.

Of course, it is hardly surprising to find a little darkness and despair pervading the work of Picasso in that period; his native country was being torn apart by a civil war, with all of Europe drifting inevitably towards another destructive world war.

A generation of grief, impossible to abstract and represent, without reference to a particular instance.

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