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Don Quixote

Artist: Pablo Picasso
Created: 1955
Format: Ink wash
Location: Private collection

Picasso was one of the most innovative and original artists that ever lived. He created hundreds of beautiful works of art including paintings and sculptures. He experimented with different styles and color schemes during his lifetime including his well known Blue Period and Rose Period. Out of so many incredible pieces of art, it is hard to say what would be considered his best. The painting however, that is perhaps most different from others, would have to be his version of Cervantes Don Quixote. Don Quixote has inspired many works of art, from paintings to plays. Maybe for Picasso this was his way of saluting a fellow country-man.

Immediately striking is the fact that Don Quixote is black and white. Unlike most of Picasso’s other paintings that either explode with color or are painted with varying shades of one or two colors, Don Quixote is stark and simple. The other striking characteristic is the humor that seems to leap out of the painting. The painting feels like a caricature of Don Quixote, as if Picasso is poking fun at this well-known figure. Yet, at the same time, Don Quixote appears brave and courageous, ready for battle, ready for anything under the blazing sun. The sun in the painting does appear to be blazing and one has the impression that it is a very hot day even though the sun is merely a black circle with black lines around it.

In his later years Picasso turned more and more towards the creation of fantasy characters and comic inventions. Certainly in Don Quixote one gets a glimpse of this attitude. It definitely is one of his more light hearted pieces. We can’t help but want to smile when we look at the painting and because Picasso is such a master painter we can only conclude that that was his intention.


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