Pablo Ruíz Picasso, 'Still-Life with a Mandolin', 1924.

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

Still Life with a Mandolin, 1924

Oil on canvas, 101 x 158 cm
Bequeathed, Máire MacNeill Sweeney, 1987

Picasso was a leading figure of the avant-garde in Spain and Paris and became the most influential figure in modern art in the first half of the twentieth century. He was still in Barcelona when he underwent his melancholic 'Blue Period' (1901-1904). He settled in Paris in 1904, taking a studio in the Montmartre tenement known as ‘le Bateau-Lavoir'. In 1907 he painted the revolutionary Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, under the influence of African primitivism. With Georges Braque, Picasso created Analytical Cubism (1907-1914), which challenged the optical realism of Impressionism, aiming to express the permanent structure of an object by depicting it as a series of planes, showing it as it would be seen from a number of viewpoints.

In 1924 Picasso spent the summer in Juan-les-Pins where he continued to work on large-scale, Cubist still-lifes of a type started the year before. The exuberant light and colours of the Mediterranean inspired him to create more vibrant compositions, such as the canvas shown here.

Still Life with a Mandolin is a night scene in which a fruit dish, bottle and mandolin are displayed on a table covered by a white-striped red cloth. All the objects are painted in a rhythmic and balanced order with lush plain colours and different pattern motifs, showing a decorative taste acquired by Picasso from Henri Matisse.

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