This week’s work of art by one of the modern world’s most famous artists, Pablo Picasso. The painting is known as Le Bock (“The Beer”), but it’s real title is “Portrait of Jamie Sarbartes, the Poet.” Picasso painted it in 1901 and today it hangs in the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow.
The Pablo Picasso Gallery describes the painting like this:
This is sometimes called Le Bock (The Beer) or simply Portrait of Sabartes; but Picasso himself insisted on ‘the poet’ as part of the title. There was a hint of irony in this as a description of Sabartes, and the painting undoubtedly presents him in an exaggeratedly soulful, glamorous light.
According to Sabartes, it was painted not long after his arrival in Paris from Spain (October 1901). He was sitting alone in a tavern, in a state of myopic isolation and boredom, until Picasso and some companions suddenly burst into the room and cheered him up. A few days later, in Picasso’s studio, Sabartes was shown this painting, which he recognized as portraying ‘the spectre of my solitude’. It is arguably the first work of Picasso’s ‘Blue Period’, characterized not only by all-pervasive blue tones but by a preoccupation with suffering, rejection and poverty.
There’s a biography of Picasso at Wikipedia and also Biography.com. You can also see more of Picasso’s art at Olga’s Gallery, ArtArchive and the ArtCyclopedia. Then there’s Picasso.com and his “official” website.