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Picasso Portraits

From the beginning of his career until its end, Pablo Picasso’s prime subject was the human figure, and portraiture remained a favorite genre for the artist. Picasso’s portraiture reflected the full range of his innovative styles--Symbolist, Cubist, Neoclassical, Surrealist, Expressionist. Depicting people in his intimate circle rather than working to commission enabled Picasso to take an expressive, radically experimental approach to making portraits.

However extreme his departure from representational conventions, Picasso never wholly abandoned drawing from the sitter or ceased producing portraits of classic beauty and naturalism. He remained in constant dialogue with the art of the past, and his portraits often alluded to canonical masterpieces. Treating favorite Old Masters as indecorously as his intimate friends, he created suites of free “variations” after Velázquez’s “Las Meninas” and Rembrandt’s “The Prodigal Son.”

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