Mistresses of the masterpieces: The muses behind Pablo Picasso's iconic paintings
By the time he was 15, Pablo Picasso could paint brilliantly and was better than any of his teachers. A painting of a vase of flowers looked just like a vase of flowers, a chair looked just like a chair and a woman looked just like a woman. But making pictures that were realistic was boring to him. What’s the point of making a picture look like a photograph? A camera can do that. Paint should do something different. So he investigated, studied and tried again and again to develop new ways of painting the things that he saw around him. He was prolific – Picasso painted more than 2,000 works and each time he mastered one style he quickly moved on to the next. As he developed new techniques, his paintings became more honest and revealing. The same could be said of his affairs with women – and the relationship between the women in his life and his different styles is intimately interlinked. Picasso was brilliant and charismatic and he loved women. The attraction worked both ways and many strong, beautiful and passionate women fell for him. Their relationships were sensual, fraught, loving and confrontational, and one woman very often overlapped with another, but there are six that could be considered his main muses. Here we take a look at seven very different paintings of three of these women: Fernande, his first true love; Olga, his first wife, and Dora, his Weeping Woman.
Fernande Olivier was an artist’s model and Picasso’s first great love. They met in the summer of 1904 when the Spaniard was an unknown and penniless artist living in Paris. He courted her for some time before she succumbed and for several years they lived together happily. By 1912 they both claimed that the other was being unfaithful and Fernande left....
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