Pablo Picasso’s The Old Guitarist was painted in 1903 during his Blue Period. The masterpiece is a somber portrayal of an old man playing the guitar enveloped in eerie lunar light. As is typical of Picasso during this period, the painting depicts the hardships of society’s most vulnerable members, such as the poor and those with disabilities. In this painting, the man appears destitute and blind with closed eyes, rough clothing, and hold an oversized guitar.
The most striking feature of The Old Guitarist is that Pablo chose to paint it almost entirely in blue hues symbolizing sadness or melancholy. This monochromatic theme highlights the hopelessness and loneliness felt by people living under horrid conditions. Also significant to note is that the guitar played by old guitarist in the artwork is arguably more colorful than anything else on display.
Today, The Old Guitarist can be found at Chicago’s Art Institute where visitors can marvel in its grandeur and interpret what story may lie behind each stroke of Picasso’s brush. Arguably one of Pablo’s best-known pieces worldwide – this somber work has come to represent not just an art form but also serves as social commentary on poverty and human suffering from a master artist who revered interpretation over rules when it comes to artistry.