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Femme Nue II

also known as Blue Nude, or Nu de Dos

Artist: Pablo Picasso
Created: 1902
Dimensions (cm): 40.0 x 46.0
Format: Oil on canvas
Location: Private collection, Paris



Picasso was one of our most versatile and original artist. For sheer invention, no other artist has ever surpassed him. Throughout the centuries, people have been both intrigued and scandalized by his work.

Femme Nue II, or Blue Nude, was painted during his Blue Period whichsprang from his early years of poverty during the time when he first moved to Paris. At this period in his life, Picasso was sad and melancholic and devoted himself to painting pictures of other lost souls, primarily using tones of blue.

His attitude seemed to change and instead of observing people ruthlessly, he now treated his models with sympathy and tenderness. He began to paint solitary emaciated figures, usually alone against vague and empty backgrounds.

Femme Nue II demonstrates this feeling well. The model is thin and turned away from the artist leading us to believe that she expects and desires nothing from the world, that all she hopes for is to be left in peace. Much like Picasso’s other paintings of this period, Femme Nue II represents a feeling of hopelessness and despair. It implies that her everyday reality is filled with hunger and misery. There is nothing in the painting to suggest that the woman expects anything more out of life. However, Femme Nue II does not depict a woman who is feeling sorry for herself or a woman who is ashamed of herself, despite the fact that she has her back to the world. Her posture rather suggests that she is happy to close her eyes and cover her head in order to perhaps dream of a better world than the cruel one she lives in. One senses that Picasso would have harbored the same hopes for the woman as those for himself.

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