Acrobat and Young Harlequin (Acrobate et jeune Arlequin) (1905) by Pablo Picasso

Acrobat and Young Harlequin (Acrobate et jeune Arlequin) - Pablo Picasso - 1905

Artwork Information

TitleAcrobat and Young Harlequin (Acrobate et jeune Arlequin)
ArtistPablo Picasso
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions190.3 x 107.8 cm
Art MovementPost-Impressionism
Current LocationBarnes Foundation, Philadelphia, PA, US

About Acrobat and Young Harlequin (Acrobate et jeune Arlequin)

The artwork titled “Acrobat and Young Harlequin” is a creation of the revered artist Pablo Picasso, completed in the year 1905. This oil on canvas piece is part of the Post-Impressionism art movement and is categorized as a genre painting. The dimensions of the artwork are 190.3 x 107.8 cm. Currently, the work is held in the Barnes Foundation, located in Philadelphia, PA, United States.

In the artwork, we observe two protagonists in a composition that suggests a narrative of performance and companionship. The taller figure is dressed as an acrobat in a predominantly red costume, featuring bold saturated hues, a distinctive hat, and a sash at the waist. This character holds a slender staff, and upon the hand rests an ornamental object, connoting a sense of showmanship associated with circus performers. In stark comparison, the younger figure stands in a costume that boasts a pattern of colorful diamonds, encompassing an array of reds, blues, and whites, indicative of a classical harlequin. The gaze of the two figures seems distant, detached from their immediate surroundings and evoking a pensive mood that is characteristic of Picasso’s Rose Period, from which this work originates.

The background of the artwork offers a muted contrast to the vibrancy of the characters’ attire. A pale sky is set against the outlines of structures that resemble sand-colored buildings or tents perhaps hinting at a transient lifestyle associated with travelling performers. Adding to the stillness of the scene, a vase with flowers can be observed on a structure to the right, adding a domestic touch to the environment and creating a juxtaposition with the performers’ itinerant lifestyle. Overall, the artwork conveys a poignant sense of poise and introspective solitude, typical traits of Picasso’s work during the period in which it was created.

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