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Portrait of Aunt Pepa, 1896 by Pablo Picasso

The Portrait of Aunt Pepa is one of the milestones in young Picasso's portrait work. The model is Josefa Ruiz Blasco (1825-1901), his father's sister. The undated oil was painted in 1896 during one of Picasso's study trips to Malaga with his family.

The play of light highlighting the face from the dark clothes and shadow backdrop, and the more outlined treatment of the latter to favor concentration on the facial expression, make this work a surprisingly deep psychological portrait.

The raw realism of the face, as well as the chromatic and light treatment, denote a clear influence from Spanish portrait tradition (especially, Velázquez).

The freedom and expressive fluidity of the lines, based on very free and flowing brushstrokes, also reveal both a quick and a virtuoso creation: Sabartés even stated that the portrait was done in less than an hour, fanning once more the legend of young Picasso. In any case, the swift execution seems equally likely to be related to a more prosaic reason - Josefa Ruiz did not like people painting her and her initial refusal, accompanied by Picasso's lack of motivation, delayed the work's production for a year - a work commissioned by his uncle Salvador.

Masterpieces of Pablo Picasso

  • Guernica
  • Les Demoiselles d'Avignon
    Les Demoiselles d'Avignon
  • The Old Guitarist
    The Old Guitarist
  • Girl Before a Mirror
    Girl Before a Mirror
  • Three Musicians
    Three Musicians
  • Blue Nude
    Blue Nude
  • The Weeping Woman
    The Weeping Woman
  • The Dream
    The Dream
  • La Vie
    La Vie
  • The Women of Algiers
    The Women of Algiers
  • Ma Jolie
    Ma Jolie
  • Don Quixote
    Girl with Mandolin
  • Portrait of Gertrude Stein
    Portrait of Gertrude Stein
  • Family of Saltimbanques
    Family of Saltimbanques
  • Portrait of Ambroise Vollard
    Portrait of Ambroise Vollard
  • Massacre in Korea
    Massacre in Korea
  • Dora Maar Au Chat
    Dora Maar Au Chat
  • Seated Woman
    Seated Woman
  • Chicago Picasso
    Chicago Picasso
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