Acrobat and Young Harlequin is an oil on canvas painting by the Spanish artist, Pablo Picasso. Created in 1905 during his Blue Period to Rose Period transition, the painting features a somber subject and showcases a blend of blue and rose hues. It measures 190.3 x 107.8 cm and can be found at Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, PA.
This genre painting depicts Harlequin, an actor or performer, alongside an acrobat who was most likely his brother. The young harlequin sits with his feet dangling off the edge of a table as he watches his older brother perform acrobatic stunts behind him. His face is downturned in melancholy as if he’s deep in thought.
This pioneering artwork demonstrates Picasso’s unique style during this period of his career when he often depicted impoverished subjects in somber tones with soft edges. In Acrobat and Young Harlequin, we see this idea represented through the sad expression on the young harlequin’s face and the distorted bodies of both figures; accentuated by elongated limbs, bulbous hands and feet lending a sense of unease to their performance.