Oil on canvas
Framed: 239 x 170 x 10 cm (94 1/8 x 66 15/16 x 3 15/16 in.); Unframed: 196.5 x 129.2 cm (77 3/8 x 50 7/8 in.)
© Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Gift of the Hanna Fund 1945.24
Picasso began drawing as a child and studying at an art school at age eleven. He later remarked that "art is a lie that makes us realize the truth."
In 1901, depressed over the suicide of a close friend, Picasso launched into the melancholic paintings of his Blue period (1901–4). Only 21 years old and desperately poor, he restricted his palette to cold colors suggestive of night, mystery, dreams, and death. His obsession with themes of human misery and social alienation reached its climax with this painting. The subject has been interpreted variously as an allegory of sacred and profane love, a symbolic representation of the cycle of life, and a working-class couple facing the hazards of real life.
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