Catching up on some out standing TV programmes on my hard drive I watched a Perspectives show on ITV presented by Michael Portillo and focusing on the life of Pablo Picasso. It’s a lively hour of entertainment about bullfighting, Guernica and Spanish art. Portillo skirts over the many love affairs of the artist and concentrates on Picasso’s artwork and the influences on the man from Malaga.
Nearing the end of the programme Portillo draws on the comparisons between Velasquez’s Las Meninas painting and the many recreations Picasso manufactured. The Picasso variations are rendered in the cubism style.
Ordinarily I would plump for the realism of the Velasquez original but coaxing my eyes to reach further into the abyss the Picasso is more pleasing and more skilful. I was not a fan of cubism or any of the otherworldy art movements that blossomed in the 19th and 20th centuries. I liked a tree to look like a tree. Yet what is the point of painting real? Real painting, in other words. You’d be as well, and quicker, taking a still life photograph. So now I’ve gone round the block and became a Cubist. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the exploded multi-faceted viewpoint. There’s a nose, an ear, a neck, an elbow. Look closely and it begins to resemble form.
Unheeding the warnings that if you stare into the abstract, the abstract will stare at you, I stared and stared into the cosmic then joined the Cubist society. Fellow members discuss all things cubist. There are moments of hilarity as it’s not all serious stuff. Our greeting-If it ain’t Braque, it’s Picasso- always brightens the day and the current Cubist joke of the week is-
What sound does a Cubist frog make? Rubik, Rubik.