How to create a masterpiece

BY BELISARIO RIGHI


Maternity - Painting by Pablo Picasso - 1905


When an artist creates a figurative work, while adhering to his personal style, he cannot ignore the typical elements of the subject he intends to portray, inserting them in his work, so that the composition has a precise iconographic connotation, such as to be identified with the concept universal that the collective imagination has with regard to the elaborated subject. Well, if, as in the specific case, it is a matter of maternity, it is necessary to represent a mother with her own child. There are many of these images in figurative art, but the one in which the mother holds the baby in her arms and offers him her breast is the most beautiful of all, the most complete, full of meanings, not surprisingly the most recurring. In it there is all the love of the mother, her sweet gaze, and the baby who suckles the milk is immersed in an atmosphere full of peace. Who knows, maybe a few minutes before he was crying because he was hungry or looking for the warmth of his mother, but now he is calm, and afterwards he will sleep. These are the recurring sensations in front of a work that brings joy and melts the most intimate sensations in the mind of the beholder, but Picasso has added a detail, the baby's hand resting on the breast. No other painter, as far as I can remember, has included this detail in the composition which gives the whole a greater empathic involvement, such as to transcend the semantic meaning of motherhood in its most specific sublimation: tenderness. Thus a masterpiece is born. The work was created in Paris in 1905. It is part of the works carried out between 1904 and 1907, which distinguish the Artist's Pink Period. The previous Blue Period was characterized by a condition of profound spiritual prostration, due to the suicide of his great friend, the poet and painter Carlos Casagemas. In this period, Picasso, tormented by the pain of the tragic death of his friend, of whom he felt partly guilty for having been the lover of his girlfriend, painted monochromatic canvases in blue, a deep and dark color that evokes heavy and dramatic. Moving to Paris in 1904, he began to associate with other artists and found joy and happiness. He abandoned blue monochromatism and began to paint in bright colors, especially pink. In her motherhood, pink is the predominant shade, even if there are traces of blue in the background, because we are just at the beginning of the new period and the echo of blue is still being felt.

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