The Blue Room (Picasso)
|The Blue Room|
|Medium||Oil on canvas|
|Dimensions||50.8 cm × 60.96 cm (21 in × 24 in)|
The Blue Room (French: La chambre bleue) is a 1901 painting by Pablo Picasso painted during his Blue Period. It was found to have a different painting hidden under it using X-ray technology in 2014 by a group of art historians and scientists from the Phillips Collection in Washington, assisted by scientists from the Cornell University High Energy Synchrotron Source.
In The Blue Room we can see Picasso’s blue period being fully developed. His cool hues and strong use of natural light draws the viewer in to see this young idealized woman bathing in a tub in what we can assume is her bedroom. Although the painting could be described as patchy or mildly unclear, the subject and scene are still identifiable. The woman's figure and small studio background are typical of Picasso's blue period, as seen in other works such as The Blind Man’s Meal (1903).
Although this piece can be considered typical of Picasso’s early blue period works, something interesting has come up in the last few years concerning this piece. Using x-ray cameras, scientists from the Phillip’s Collection in Washington discovered another painting just underneath the surface: a portrait of an old man resting his head in his hands.
This discovery leads to the more important question, not who is this but why would Picasso do this? Historians collectively have collected biographical information regarding Picasso and his life during his Blue Period and concluded that he most likely did this because of his prolificacy in painting but lack of extra canvases. His economic state would not have allowed him to purchase the many materials needed in order to be a full-time artist. His “melancholy blue portraits” did not result in many eager buyers or people willing to pay for the portraits he created of random people off the street. Because of this, Picasso painted over several of his works until one would sell, making him some money to purchase more materials.
- "Hidden painting found under Picasso's The Blue Room". BBC News. Retrieved 18 June 2014.
- “Pablo Picasso: The Blind Man’s Meal”.
- Simon, “Buried by Picasso, The Man Beneath ‘The Blue Room’ Tells a Story,” 1.
- Simon, “Buried by Picasso, The Man Beneath The Blue Room Tells a Story,” 1.
- McQuillan, Melissa. “Picasso, Pablo.” Grove Art Online, Oxford Art Online. Accessed March 23, 2015
- Metropolitan Museum of Art Online. “Pablo Picasso: The Blind Man’s Meal,” Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. Accessed March 23, 2015.
- Schneider, Daniel E. “The Painting of Pablo Picasso: A Psychoanalytic Study.” College Art Journal 7, no. 2(Winter, 1947): 82.
- Simon, Scott. “Buried by Picasso, The Man Beneath The Blue Room Tells a Story.” under “Simon Says,” on NPR.org (June 21, 2014). accessed March 23, 2015.