Portrait of Manuel Pallares (1909) by Pablo Picasso

Portrait of Manuel Pallares - Pablo Picasso - 1909

Artwork Information

TitlePortrait of Manuel Pallares
ArtistPablo Picasso
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions68 x 49.5 cm
Art MovementCubism
Current LocationDetroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI, US

About Portrait of Manuel Pallares

The artwork “Portrait of Manuel Pallares” was created by the notable artist Pablo Picasso in 1909. This oil on canvas work measures 68 by 49.5 cm and is an excellent representation of the Cubist movement, to which Picasso contributed significantly. Notably, the portrait genre piece can be found at the Detroit Institute of Arts, located in Detroit, MI, US.

In the artwork, one is immediately struck by the characteristic Cubist style, where forms and spaces are fragmented and reassembled in an abstract fashion. The subject of the portrait, Manuel Pallares, is depicted using a monochromatic palette primarily consisting of earthy tones and shades. Despite the fragmentation, the viewer can discern the delineation of Pallares’s facial features, such as his prominent cheekbones, strong jawline, and a moustache that is stylized in sharp geometric forms. The subject appears in a somewhat solemn and introspective mood, with his gaze directed slightly downward, which lends an air of introspection to the piece.

Picasso utilizes the interplay of light and shadow, creating a sense of depth and volume within the flat pictorial space, which is a key aspect of Cubist art. The angular and overlapping planes suggest the multiple perspectives from which the subject can be perceived, giving viewers a more comprehensive understanding of the form, which transcends the traditional single viewpoint of earlier portraiture.

This artwork, being from the early stages of Cubism, retains some semblance of representational form, bridging the gap between Picasso’s earlier work and the more abstract and avant-garde pieces that would come to define the movement. The “Portrait of Manuel Pallares” is not only a testament to the enduring friendship between Pallares and Picasso but also a significant historical work that showcases the revolutionary ideas that were reshaping the art world in the early 20th century.

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