Throughout their life together, Jacqueline served as a model for several of Picasso's reinterpretations of art historical masterworks, including his studies of Manet's Déjeuner sur l'herbe and Delacroix' Femmes d'Algiers. But here, the artist has chosen to paint her not in any narrative context, but rather as the singular object and focus of his attention. Much like Marie-Thérèse had been in the 1930s, Jacqueline was a soothing companion for the firebrand artist, and his grandest depictions of her evoke the quiet yet extraordinarily powerful influence she held over his entire production during these last years of his life. In his monograph on the artist, Duncan claimed that "Jacqueline told me she had not once posed for Picasso. Her silence filled their home — and her face his eyes" (ibid., p. 27).
In his discussion of Picasso's late works, David Sylvester links them to his early masterpiece, Demoiselles d'Avignon, both distinguished by the 'raw vitality' which they have as their central underlying theme: "The resemblance of figures in the Demoiselles and in late Picasso to masked tribal dancers is as crucial as their scale in giving them a threatening force. It is irrelevant whether or not particular faces or bodies are based on particular tribal models: what matters is the air these personages have of coming from a world more primitive, possibly more cannibalistic and certainly more elemental than ours. Despite the rich assortment of allusions to paintings in the Renaissance tradition, the treatment of space rejects that tradition in favor of an earlier one, the flat unperspectival space of, say, medieval Catalan frescoes... At twenty five, Picasso's raw vitality was already being enriched by the beginnings of an encyclopaedic awareness of art; at ninety, his encyclopaedic awareness of art was still being enlivened by a raw vitality" (D. Sylvester, ibid., p. 144).
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