Three Musicians (1921) by Pablo Picasso

Three Musicians - Pablo Picasso - 1921

Artwork Information

TitleThree Musicians
ArtistPablo Picasso
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions200.7 x 222.9 cm
Art MovementCubism
Current LocationMuseum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City, NY, US
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About Three Musicians

Pablo Picasso’s Three Musicians painting represents three figures painted in the highly decorative and symbolic Synthetic Cubist style. It is one of two very large paintings which Picasso painted of the same subject in 1921, both interpreted to be figurative group portraiture of the artist and two old friends. In the painting, Three Musicians, Picasso renders the figures in a highly abstracted manner whereby their bodies and faces are divided into geometric shapes. Additionally, irregular lines are used throughout the entire artwork as an evocative display that conveys a picture far away from that of ordinary imagery associated with musicians.

Picasso’s panting also includes subtle symbols that reflect his own personal feelings. One such symbol is the scallop shell that adorns the central figure’s cap seen in Three Musicians which translates to “Notre Avenir Est Dans L’Air”, “Our Future is in the Air”. Through this symbol, Picasso expresses his belief in humanity’s potential for greatness despite difficult times. The painting serves as a lasting reminder of Picasso’s vision for a brighter future – an aspiration that he embodied with vivid colours and synthetic cubist styling.

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