The Context of Picasso's "La Vie" Analytical Essay by Master Researcher

The Context of Picasso's "La Vie"
An examination of Picasso's painting "La Vie".
# 43217 | 1,650 words | 6 sources | MLA | 2002 | US
Published on Oct 22, 2003 in Art (Painting)

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This paper explores Picasso's painting entitled "La Vie", in terms of meaning, style and influences. The paper contextualizes this work in terms of broader art developments and in terms of social and political history and considers what makes "La Vie" such an impressive work.

From the Paper:

"La Vie was painted in 1903, during Picasso's Blue Period. That period obtains its name "from the melancholy cold blue tones that dominate his work during the years 1901-1904" (Jaffe 50). Over the course of that period, he focused on portraits of the urban poor, and these also were characterized b the same melancholy atmosphere. The Blue Period comprised part of the larger period, lasting until 1910, when he was particularly concerned with stylistic issues. By the time Picasso had completed La Vie, it was regarded as his major work.
"The year 1900 was especially significant for Picasso, and is significant for understanding La Vie. At that time, he held an exhibition of his works in Barcelona. One painting, entitled Derniers Moments, was also exhibited in Paris in October of that same year. Picasso traveled to the French capital with the painter and poet Carles Casagemas. "The events of this period, some of which refer specifically to Casagemas, are intimately linked to many of the major themes of Picasso's paintings and drawings of the early years" (McCully 18).
"Picasso enjoyed a very close friendship with Casagemas. Mailer states that: "for a year and a half, Casagemas and Picasso were so close that their most significant separations would take place at the door to a brothel" (33). The following year, as a result of a love affair that did not work out with Germaine Gargallo, Casagemas committed suicide. The impact of that event on Picasso is revealed both in a symbolic and practical way of coping. The suicide "prompted several paintings by Picasso, the most famous of which was La Vie, which he painted in 1903 over his 1900 canvas Derniers Moments" (McCully 19). Ironically, Derniers Moments means "Final Moments". The painting and its title must have been overwhelmingly meaningful to Picasso. After all, he recreated "Life" from death in this way."

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