©Pablo Picasso - Mother and child 1902

Picasso Mother and child 1902
Mother and child
1902 112x97cm oil/canvas
Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

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From Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge:
Following his visit to the Saint-Lazare prison-hospital, an institution for Parisian prostitutes with venereal disease, Picasso produced a number of paintings of destitute mothers embracing their small children. This is the largest of this group of works dating from the artist’s “Blue Period” (1901–4); they unite contemporary social concerns with an iconic Christian theme. The mother’s attenuated limbs speak to Picasso’s close study of the work of earlier artists, particularly El Greco.
Like many paintings in this gallery, this one was executed on a reused canvas, and another composition lies beneath this scene. That painting is a portrait of Picasso’s friend, the poet Max Jacob, who sits in his study surrounded by books. Some evidence of the image is still visible, particularly the contours of the face, which is roughly the same size as the mother’s head and is located above her knees.