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Pablo Picasso Girl Before a Mirror

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Girl Before a Mirror shows Picasso’s young mistress Marie-Therese Walter, one of his favorite subjects in the early 1930s. Her white-haloed profile, rendered in a smooth lavender pink, appears serene. But it merges with a more roughly painted, frontal view of her face—a crescent, like the moon, yet intensely yellow, like the sun, and “made up” with a gilding of rouge, lipstick, and green eye-shadow. Perhaps the painting suggests both Walter’s day-self and her night-self, both her tranquillity and her vitality, but also the transition from an innocent girl to a worldly woman aware of her own sexuality.

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It is also a complex variant on the traditional Vanity—the image of a woman confronting her mortality in a mirror, which reflects her as a death’s head. On the right, the mirror reflection suggests a supernatural x-ray of the girl’s soul, her future, her fate. Her face is darkened, her eyes are round and hollow, and her intensely feminine body is twisted and contorted.

She seems older and more anxious. The girl reaches out to the reflection, as if trying to unite her different “selves. The diamond-patterned wallpaper recalls the costume of the Harlequin, the comic character from the commedia dell’arte with whom Picasso often identified himself—here a silent witness to the girl’s psychic and physical transformations. Of all the women that Picasso painted, I think that the images of Marie-Therese Walter are the most extraordinary. She was very young when Picasso met her in the late 1920s—in fact a teenager. And they began a secret love affair, which produced in 1932 an amazing sequence of paintings.

It is a curious painting, visually so splendid that we might forget the way in which the anatomy is broken apart and separated. The woman seen on the left could be pregnant. At least there is the implication of fecundity, of someone who is very beautiful, very vital, very sexual. In the mirror a different image appearsthe figure seems sorrowful, expressionistic and even distorted compared to the clarity on the left. The woman on the left is given two faces. The profile view is very youthful, the full face slightly carnival-like, with bright yellow and the red of the cheek.

One can produce a lot of narratives, which are all quite plausible, and maybe contradict each other. Great modern pictures combine patterns of signification that keep us entranced in them; and its no surprise that this is one of the most popular pictures in the Museum. Pablo Picasso was a contemporary of Sigmund Freud and some of Europe’s greatest impressionist painters. Picasso’s Girl before a Mirror reflects a woman looking not out to her viewers as the Ramos women do, but rather into the mirror, and into herself.

Introspective and contemplative, this woman is concerned with her own inner self, her fragmentation, and her mysteries, but not her sexual allure. Her body is not a thing of beauty in the painting, because Picasso wanted to show that perception changes everything. Ramos’s women perceive themselves to be beautiful objects for men to desire and appreciate. Picasso’s girl may or may not be speculating about her allure, but she certainly is looking inward at a fragmented self. What viewers see in the girl and her experience may be quite different from what Picasso saw.

Ramos’s woman is a representational artistic expression, whereas Picasso’s girl is an abstraction, a woman removed from herself and from the viewers. Early twentieth century society emerged from a century of civil strife, developing social responsibility and a clear demarcation between the haves and the have-nots; and it still embraced sexual repression. Freud would have everyone believe that the subconscious is the critical part of human motivation and directs humankind in ways that is not understandable.

Yet, the subconscious stores the repressed thoughts and desires, creating great tensions on men and women who want to passionately express themselves, but are held back. This tension creates a fragmented self, a lack of knowing part of the self. In the Western world, in 1932, rumors or war and the world economy created fear and upheaval in people. Society felt fragmented from stability and a sense of the future. Picasso’s painting also reflected these troubled times in his Girl before a Mirror. Thus, the girl looking into her mirror does not even see herself as she actually is.

The viewer sees two different figures, one on the outside and the other a reflection. But the reflection is a false image of the girl. She reaches out towards the reflection, as if to embrace yet another part of herself that she sees in the mirror. he girl is Marie-Therese. Picasso preferred this picture of his lover to all the others. In the paradoxical tension between the motif of tranquil contemplation and the agitated style in which it is painted, Picasso has conveyed far more than an everyday moment. Marie Therese is studying her reflected image closely; but this simple attitude is transformed by the wild olours and assertive lines. It is as if we were seeing her at once clothed, naked, and revealed in X-ray image. The picture is full of sexual symbolism. In other works of the period, distress and violent feeling are apparent in the visible tension. the girl is pregnant, her stomach is large and firm, and the green and yellowish circle represents the womb, and her breasts are very perky and round, her face is beautiful. She is looking at her reflection in the mirror but seeing it as her future reflection. In her reflection her stomach is like a deflated balloon, her breasts are lopsided and sagging, and her face is aged. he girl is leaning on the mirror with both arms against it like you would if you were nervous or upset. she is not looking forward to what is going to happen to her body. For a long time, art was recognized as an imitation of nature. The view of the paintings and portraits were made to look as realistic as possible.

Cubism was a twentieth century art movement that revolutionized paintings and sculptures by distorting and flattening space. It was focused on exploring relationships between images, perspectives and materials. The visual possibilities were fully exploited by artists in changing reality in a variety of ways. Girl Before a Mirror” is a Picasso work that is one of a series utilizing the model Marie-ThTrFse. A showing of the painting offered an assessment of the work in the catalog: Achieves metamorphosis of traditional Vanity image, in which a woman looking in the mirror sees herself as a death’s head; here, figure with double head is reflected as somber-faced but voluptuous image. The painting is from March 1932. It was produced in the style Picasso was using at the time and evoked an image of Vanity such as had been utilized in art in earlier eras, though Picasso shifts the emphasis and creates a very different view of the image.

The work is considered in terms of the erotic in Picasso’s art, and critics in different periods have offered their assessments of the work to show a wide range of reactions. Picasso was part of a movement that would become known as Modernism, a name which included a number of different artistic styles and aesthetic responses. Modernism is a term applied retroactively to certain literary and artistic trends at the beginning of the twentieth century.

The disjointed time sense, the flight from the conventions of realism, and the adoption of complex new forms and styles in the modernist period were undertaken to provide new meaning, to illuminate the world in a different way, and to show different relationships within the observed world. n Paris in the late twenties, Picasso continued to paint pictures in an obviously Cubist manner, and his works were shown in Surrealist exhibitions. From the late 1920s, his work became more marked by a new and mounting emotional tenseness, a mood of foreboding mixed with anguish and despair.

Girl Before a Mirror is from this latter period. He proceeds in the work from his intense feeling for the model and paints her in a rousing and mysterious fashion. She would remain in Picasso’s life for another four years before she was replaced by Dora Maar, and here the artist transforms her into a quasi-mythical being (in keeping with Picasso’s interest in mythical references, such as his paintings in the late 1920s of the minotaur): Picasso has a remarkable ability to empathically displace the egos of his models, male or female. This young girl’s act of self-contemplation may well have been banal. t is not surprising that the theme of the girl before a mirror has even been described as a girl before her mirror image counting the days when her period is due to find out whether or not she could be pregnant, thus becoming connected with the moon and the sun and concerned with giving life and facing death. the uterine image in the mirror releases such repressions. It is sheer beauty and eye pleasure. The half-hidden frontal view, however, becomes a cosmetic mask of sexual lure: the half-mouth lipsticked, the cheek rouged, the skin brazenly gilded.

If the contemplative girl, in the start of puberty, still appears virginal in the angular corseting of her swelling body . The profile view of the head extends to an enclosing contour of alabaster luminousness that whitens the stripe pattern to a celestial paleness, and suggests the chastity of both halo and veil. Picasso’s use of complementary colors creates an exciting painting. the painting “Girl Before a Mirror” by Picasso is of a young girl named Marie Therese Walter. It was painted during the early 1930’s. When I first saw this painting, I was drawn to it immediately because of its bold shapes and vibrant colors.

I also felt overwhelmed by this painting. Picasso has a very unique style of painting; it is a style that is easily differentiated from other pieces. His paintings are made of so many different shapes, shades and colors. It made my mind think multiple feelings towards the image at once. Picasso painted his mistress Marie Therese Walter multiple times during the 1930’s. “Girl Before a Mirror” was painted during Picasso’s cubism period. Picasso was an artist that was very bold with his artwork. Even with backgrounds that are normally placed to be a backdrop and mainly they’re to assist the main subject.

He includes it within the painting to make it just as intense as the main focal point of the image. In this particular case his mistress. When you look closely at the image, you can interpret many different symbols within different parts of the painting. The woman’s face for one; is painted with a side profile and a full frontal image. One side shows the day time where she seems more like a woman, dolled up with her make up done. The other side with the rough charcoal texture portrays her at night. When she takes off the mask of makeup, and is more vulnerable as a young lady.

One way of interpreting the painting is when the woman looks at herself in the mirror; she is seeing herself as an old woman. From the green discoloration on her forehead, darkening of her facial features to the lines that show that her young body has been distorted, and gravity has taken its rightful place. Another way of viewing the painting is that she is self-conscious, and she sees all the flaws in herself that the world doesn’t see. The differences suggest this woman is concerned with her own inner self, her fragmentation, and her mysteries, but not her sexual allure.

Her body is not a thing of beauty in the painting, because Picasso wanted to show that perception changes everything. Warm and cool colors are also used to indicate the transformation that the woman goes thru as she looks at her reflection. Once side of her face is yellow and surrounded by an oval of white and green, almost like an aura as the author on pg 147 points out. The viewer sees two different figures, one on the outside and the other a reflection. But the reflection is a false image of the girl. She reaches out towards the reflection, as if to embrace yet another part of herself that she sees in the mirror.

Cite this Pablo Picasso Girl Before a Mirror

Pablo Picasso Girl Before a Mirror. (2017, Mar 25). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/pablo-picasso-girl-before-a-mirror/

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