Glass of Absinthe (1914) by Pablo Picasso

Glass of Absinthe - Pablo Picasso - 1914

Artwork Information

TitleGlass of Absinthe
ArtistPablo Picasso
Date1914
MediumPainted bronze with perforated silver absinthe spoon
Dimensions21.5 x 16.5 cm
Art MovementCubism
Current LocationPhiladelphia Museum of Art
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About Glass of Absinthe

Pablo Picasso’s Glass of Absinthe is a sculpture that features an absinthe spoon and incorporates an existing object into the artwork. The Spanish artist broke new ground with this piece, transforming an ordinary drinking glass to be worthy of contemplation. There are six bronze copies of this sculpture, each depicting a drinking glass with the front cut away to reveal the liquid inside, and a sugar cube atop an absinthe spoon perched on the rim.

The Surrealists celebrated this artwork as it sabotaged the line between art and reality. It is known that Picasso’s sculpture practice involved swallowing up real objects to transform them into elements for contemplation. Toulouse-Lautrec was a predecessor who influenced Picasso’s work on absinthe. Absinthe was considered as a fetish drink in Paris at the turn of the century, which further increased its cultural significance.

Picasso is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of Cubism and fracturing two-dimensional picture planes, producing original art pieces that broke from traditional realism. Apart from Glass of Absinthe, there were other artworks related to absinthe such as 1901’s Absinthe Drinker. In terms of political commentary or activism, Guernica (1937) served as his response to Spain’s bombing Civil War back in his home country.

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