Pablo Picasso’s Self-portrait Yo is a notable oil painting created in 1901. It was mounted on wood and displayed with pride and confidence by Picasso, who had chosen to assert his preferred name over his paternal surname of Ruiz. This painting marks the first of three self-portraits created by Picasso that year, all of which depict the artist in various poses and styles.
As an accomplished painter early on in his career, Picasso did not need to sell many of his paintings, and this was especially true for self-portraits, which he seemed to keep for personal reasons. Many remained in his possession throughout his life, being passed down to his heirs who still hold them today.
While Yo serves as an intimate representation of Pablo Picasso at a certain point in time, it also highlights a crucial aspect of portrait painting—the ability to capture someone’s personality and inner world through the physical canvas. In this case, Picasso’s self-assurance and individuality are evident through the bold strokes used in creating this piece.
Picasso continued creating self-portraits throughout his life as a means of expressing himself while honing his craft. Each one showcases different techniques or perspectives yet embodies a sense of introspection that speaks volumes about the artist himself. And though each work has its own unique stamp on art history, Self-portrait Yo endures as one of the finest examples from the maestro’s formative years.