Family of Saltimbanques(1905) created by Pablo Picasso The Family of Saltimbanques (1905) was created in France with oil on canvas by the artist Pablo Picasso during his Rose Period. Pablo Ruiz y Picasso, better known as Pablo Picasso ( 25 October 1881-8 April 1973), was a spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer. The artist, Picasso, “is widely known for co-founding the Cubist movement, the invention of collage, and for the wide variety of styles that he helped develop and explore” (Hotaling, 2012). It is estimated Picasso has created around 50,000 pieces of art. (Kelley, 2009).
Picasso’s Rose period has been considered French influenced, while the Blue period is Spanish influenced(Hotaling, 2012). During 1901-1904 Picasso’s Blue Period, his art portrayed destitute human beings. The deep and dark tones of blue were used to signifying misery and despair — to intensify the hopelessness of the figures depicted, such as beggars, prostitutes, the blind, out-of-work actors and circus folk, as well as Picasso himself and his penniless friends. Around this time in Picasso’s life he lived in poverty and felt as an outcast. Picasso’s Blue Period came to be around the time of his closest friend, Carles Casagemas, suicide.
Picasso explained later, “It was thinking about Casagemas that got me started painting in blue. “(webexhibits. org) Gradually, Picasso’s colors brightened, leading to Picasso’s Rose Period. During Picasso’s Rose Period, “his painting style used cheerful orange and pink colors in contrast to the cool, somber tones of the previous Blue Period”(Hotaling, 2012). Not only soft pinks and oranges are depicted in the Family of Saltimbanques, but additionally soft hues of blue and yellow complement the image. Additionally, around the Rose Period Picasso’s life was starting to go in his favor.
Picasso’s paintings were beginning to sell, and he acquired a studio, and lover(webexhibits. org). Harlequins, circus performers and clowns appear frequently in the Rose Period and appear in various stages of Picasso’s art throughout his artistic career, “the harlequin, a comedic character usually depicted in checkered patterned clothing, became a personal symbol for Picasso (Hotaling, 2012). According to the National Gallery of Art, “Like them (the saltimbanques), the Spanish-born Picasso was transient during his first years in Paris while striving for recognition.
Eventually he found a dilapidated apartment in Montmartre, where he and his friends regularly attended the local Cirque Medrano’s performances. ” Picasso saw the saltimbanques as a symbol for the melancholy of the neglected underclass of artistes, a kind of extended family with whom he identified (nga. gov). In the Saltimbanques the harlequin which became a personal symbol for Picasso, is holding a young girl’s hand, possibly his beloved younger sister, Conchita, whose tragic death from diphtheria at the age of seven affected Picasso deeply. He bargained that he would never paint again if she survived, so her death created his first obsessive, recurrent connection between art, life and death in his work,” according to pablopicasso. org. We also, see in Family of Saltimbanques a women in the bottom right corner.
Picasso would sometimes included his inamoratas in his art work. In 1904, Picasso met Fernande Olivier, a bohemian artist who became his mistress. Oliver appears in many of his Rose period paintings. Her relationship with Picasso has been suggested, “… s one of the reasons he changed his style of painting (From the Blue period to Red Period)” (Hotaling, 2012). The materials for Family of Saltimbanques are oil on canvas. Oil paint is a paste made with ground pigment and a drying oil such as linseed oil, used chiefly by artists. As for the material canvas, it “is a term applied to tightly woven fabrics,” for the structure, “The weave of canvas go in two directions. ” The material used for Picasso’s canvas could have been cotton, Hemp; Linen, Flax; Jute, Hessian (art-handbook. com).
The Family of Saltimbanques now resides in the Chester Dale collection. In the oil painting, Family of Saltimbanques created by Picasso, Picasso express a sad but hopeful mood. He uses different lighter hues of colors to possibly communicate and express the positive aspects that were coming into his life and the darker hues of colors to communicate the remaining sense of isolation and discomfort that remained in Picasso’s emotions. Additionally, Family of Saltimbanques contains five circus performers and one woman Picasso relates with and may have a meaningful connection with.
Picasso created the artwork Family of Saltimbanques to express the sadness and loneliness he felt, but happiness he was starting to feel. Picasso’s artwork depicts a harlequin wearing a light soft pink scarf with one hand behind his back and the other hand holding a young girl’s who is next to him. This choice of people seems intended to represent Picasso and his younger sister. Picasso looking away and towards the young women who may have been his inamorata at the time. Picasso’s artwork depicts three other circus troupe members as well, who additionally appear uninterested with one another.
His choice of composition and facial expressions seem to contradict the painting’s title “Family of Saltimbanques” for each figure in Picasso’s artwork portrays stillness and a sense of isolation instead of connection and unity. However, Picasso exhibits one human interaction and connection in his artwork between the harlequin and the young girl. This connection may communicate Picasso’s longing for his deceased sister and want to memorialize her in a piece of his art, because him and her were very close.
In the painting she is wearing a light pink dress that slightly flares out, holding a small tan basket full of light and dark pink flowers and has a light red flower in her pinned up hair. Flowers alone posses a type of botanical symbolism. Red flowers typically represent love and soft pink tones represent a sense of innocence and kindness. The young girl appears to be less uninterested, but more so distracted by the golden pink vase slightly behind the women. Additionally, the young girl has one light pink colored shoe upon the harlequin’s black shoe and another very light pink and beige colored shoe on the ground.
This color difference may have been unintentional or made to embellish with the color of the field. However, the beige shading reaches up her dress and stops at her black vest, this is the only character of Picasso’s painting who has this tone of shading on the right side as for the other characters have a darker tone of the clothing they are wearing on the right side. Picasso’s use of light shading on the young girl’s dress and shoe similar to the field could be be his sister and the memories he had with her were no longer with him or fading away.
He is holding on to her hand and her shoe full of color rests upon his foot meaning he has not completely or does not want to completely accepted that she is gone or rather his sister is not there with him physically, but in spirit which could explain why the shading blends with the ground. The other character in the art work that may have a strong personal connection to Picasso would be the women in the bottom right corner, who similarly to the young girl, is wearing flowers.
The harlequin, who would represent Picasso, is looking in the direction of the women who would likely represent Fernande, his inamorata at the time. Picasso is not the only character who looks towards the women, two other characters look with the same serious and focused expressions. This may be because at the time Fernande had other admirers besides Picasso however, she is distant and appears disinterested from the circus troupe members including the harlequin.
Picasso may have done this because he and others admired her and Picasso felt deep affection for Fernande and wanted Fernande to have her own focus of attention in his art to show she was of great significance to Picasso during that time of his life. The overall scene of the harlequins, circus performers and clown have their own meaning to Picasso. Instead, of depicting the circus performers as positive and cheerful or lessly giving them a sort of movement, we see them as still and isolated. At that era circus performers were considered outcasts, imilar to how Picasso’s felt around that time. He expresses that sense of isolation and loneliness though having each circus performers look away from each other with stone like facial expressions. The Family of Saltimbanques expresses tones of light blue, orange, beige, and pink. It also, expresses dark shades of grey and beige along with shadows outlining each character. This is done to illustrate the “… melancholy of the neglected underclass of artistes”(nga. gov). Picasso felt this isolation and underappreciation same as the circus performers.
Additionally all the characters hold their arms close to them, instead of to their sides to possibly further exaggerate their feelings of isolation and wanting to be apart of frances society at the time. Each character may not only be looking around because of disinterest but rather looking and yearning to be apart of the “accepted” society they are outcasted from. However, the imagery also expresses light color tones such as the man in the deep red outfit drawing the viewer’s attention, the young boy wearing the bright baby blue coat, and the young girl in the soft pink ballerina dress relating to his Rose Period.
In fact, “The original tonality of this painting was bluish. Scientific study has revealed three other states of this image under its final version. In them, Picasso altered figures and composition and switched from blue to rose, consciously allowing the darker paint to show through as he reworked his canvas “(nga. gov). These light colors show the positives that are starting to happen in his life.
He is shifting from the dark blues and greys of his Blue Period into softer colors in order to represent his mood as a possible outcome from his new love and the start of success for his artistic career. Picasso is now in a relationship with a women named Furthermore, in Picasso’s painting, dark shading is used to emphasize the shadows on each individual body along with dusky like movement of the brush strokes. The figures are lifelike, but still. There is a sense of individuality with each character, which Picasso may have wanted to portray to represent his own artistic style that