“Mother and Child” (1901) Pablo Picasso
On this morning of the Feast of Saint Mary the Virgin I offer up a painting by Pablo Picasso entitled “Mother and Child” , painted in 1901, as a way of celebrating and lifting up the special nature of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, the “Theotokos,” . As a naïve young lad I always found Picasso a bit “trite” and wondered what all the fuss was about. However, as I have aged and been guided by some very knowledgeable friends, and one of my priests and artist son-in law in particular, I have come to see the deep symbolism in his work as possessing great religious connotation. This painting comes from what is referred to as Picasso’s “blue period”. During this period the artist rendered everything in blue. In a way this painting is reminiscent of the baroque period artists who used blue to represent humanity and red to represent God. Mary very often was painted wearing a blue undergarment with a red over-garment to designate humanity upon whom special God like qualifies had been bestowed.
For me art of this caliber speaks tomes about the nature and mystery of our faith. It even outdistances rich liturgy and fine preaching in its ability to convey the “feeling” of the concept conveyed.
This offering comes from a website which provides this further elucidation concerning the work:
The religious connotations of any picture involving a mother and child are inevitable and this iconic statement is one of a series of ‘Madonnas’ painted during the Blue Period. Picasso repeatedly combines the themes of religion and poverty as his development of the female figure moves away from the sexual allusions encompassed in prostitute images, to the more hallowed portrayal of the mother figure. The almost monochromatic use of blue in this period, and its traditional association with the Madonna, are superbly combined to produce a set of haunting, almost ghostly images. Notably, many of the Blue Period women are bowed as if carrying a heavy emotional burden.
Here the handling of space has a distinctive feel. The spatial structure is clearly defined and organized in horizontal bands crossed by the vertical lines of the upright chair. This grid-work of lines is beautifully disturbed by the gentle motion of the mother’s lovingly bent head kissing the child. The flowing line is echoed in the cascading folds of the mother’s wrap, redeveloped in a similar figure in La Vie (1903).
The highly expressive style is reminiscent of the 16th-century Spanish Mannerist master, El Greco (1541-1614), whom Picasso studied during his brief time in Madrid in 1896, reflected in the exaggerated, enlarged hands and the long, tapering fingers
From the website: Pablo Picasso – Paintings, Quotes, Biography