The Cubes of Picasso

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.

10 thoughts on “The Cubes of Picasso”

  1. This picture confirms my view that old Pablo was ‘avin’ a larf at the world’s expense. Was Michael Bentine a cubist in his Square World?

  2. I think I’m pleased that this picture is not the product of a full palette of colours as surely I would have a headache staring into it. That being said, I find it a fascinating compression of shapes and shades. Yes, I like it; I am a Cubist.

  3. Thanks for that nugget, J, I didn’t know of any MB Square World. That’s the problem with life. We can’t live in every time.

    PG, our Cubist society consider this painting an extraordinary piece. In the top left of the picture look at the inverted painter kissing himself. Narcissism at its fullest. There are also about a hundred different animals hiding in the shapes. For one, there’s a sturgeon swimming along the carpet about to attack the dog which is being forced to fight by its owner.

    How do Cubists like their stew? Diced.

  4. Speaking of dice, when I was a very small child (not yet 4 years old) I woke up early one morning to be told that we were going to Paradise Island (aka Santa Carolina) off the coast of Mozambique, for a holiday. As we were driving to the airport I imagined this building with a pair of dice spinning around on the top.

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