Christian Zervos, Pablo Picasso, Œuvres de 1970, Paris, 1976, vol. XXXII, no. 152, illustrated p. 57 (as the verso of no. 151)
Picasso seldom depicted himself directly, choosing instead to personify himself through thematic characters. In this case, he chooses the musketeer to serve as his alter-ego alongside his beloved wife Jacqueline Roque, recognisable through her unmistakable almond eyes. As Picasso developed his visual lexicon throughout the 1960s and into the 1970s, the musketeer became a multi-dimensional figure within a series of engravings and works on paper dedicated to the motif. Exhibiting a range of personalities including card players, musicians and pipe smokers, they illustrate the imagined adventures of a bon vivant. 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 had devoted a large portion of his production throughout the 1960s to the reinterpretation of the old masters, an experience in which he reaffirmed his place among the greatest painters in the history of art. A character who embodied the courtly mannerisms of the Renaissance gentleman, Picasso's musketeers are tributes to the work of two painters he adored throughout his life - Velázquez and Rembrandt.
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