Bernard Ruiz Picasso, Paris
Acquired from the above
New York, The Pace Gallery, Picasso: The Avignon Paintings, 1981, illustrated in the catalogue
Kunstmuseum Basel, Pablo Picasso, Das Spätwerk, 1981, no. 38, illustrated in color in the catalogue
Gisors, Mairie de Gisors, Picasso, 1983
Vienna, Kunstforum & Tubingen, Kunsthalle, Picasso: Figur und Portrait, Hauptwerke aud der Sammlung Bernard Picasso, 2002, no. 88, illustrated in the catalogue
Nantes, Musée des Beaux Arts de Nantes & Padua, Palazzo Zabarella, Picasso: 1961-1972, 2001-03, no. 30 in Nantes & no. 31 in Padua, illustrated in the catalogue
Copenhagen, Arken Museum for Moderne Kunst, Picasso: For All Times, 2004, no. 35, illustrated in the catalogue
Malaga, Museo Picasso, Picasso: Anthology 1895-1971, 2004-05, no. 124, illustrated in the catalogue
Istanbul, Sakıp Sabancı Museum, Sabancı Üniversitesi, Picasso in Istanbul, 2005-06, no. 128, illustrated in color in the catalogue
Picasso’s objective to paint ‘nature’ is in direct opposition to the abstraction and minimalism which were becoming the mainstream for other artists during this same period. For Picasso, the musketeer signified the golden age of painting, and allowed him to escape the limitations of contemporary subject matter and explore the spirit of a past age. Picasso’s inspiration for this figure and other masculine warriors of his late paintings can be traced to his Spanish childhood and his familiarity with Cervantes’ Don Quixote. The Mousquetaire was a character that embodied the courtly mannerisms of the Renaissance gentleman, and Picasso now resurrected him for a twentieth-century audience. The artist’s rendering of this image was also his tribute to the work of two painters he had adored throughout his life: Diego Velázquez, whose portraits of seventeenth-century Spanish nobility and sword-wielding monarchs were clear sources of inspiration for the present picture, and the Dutch master, Rembrandt van Rijn, whom Jacqueline Roque credited as being a key influence on Picasso’s art of this period. It was through these reinterpretations and investigations of the Old Masters that Picasso reaffirmed his connection to some of the greatest painters in the history of art.
Brigitte Léal has considered what it meant for Picasso to be painting these historical characters in the late 20th century. She considers the cultural significance of the musketeer: "It was not without humor that Picasso created these characters, whose amorous adventures he chronicled in his etchings. Imagine painting musketeers in 1970! They were ornamental figures whose clothes were a pretext both for the blaze of blood red and golden yellow and for the resurgence of a newly found Spanishness" (Brigitte Léal, Christine Piot, Marie-Laure Bernadac, The Ultimate Picasso, New York, 2000, p. 458). The present work is differentiated from other portraits of 1969 by the addition of a laurel wreath to the musketeer. Seldom used within his oeuvre, the laurel wreath is a rare symbol of triumph.
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