A painting inspired by Picasso's blue period

By Gillian Valladares Castellino

Picasso's blue period refers to paintings done between 1901 and 1904 in which the colour blue predominates. It marks the transition of his style from classicism to abstract painting. It was triggered by the suicide of his close friend and fellow artist Carlos Casagemas, at a time when they were living a wild free-spirited life-style in Montmartre, Paris.

Casegemas, fell in love with a girl called Germaine and when she attempted to break off the affair, Casagemas, in the presence of some friends at the L'Hippodrome Cafe, took a gun and shot himself in the temple. He died shortly afterwards in hospital. He was only 19. Picasso was not in Paris at the time, but Casagemas' death traumatised him. In an attempt to come to terms with the loss, he did a series of paintings of the tragedy itself, and also of drunks, beggars, prostitutes and other lost souls, in ethereal, haunting blue tones. (see below)

One interpretation of why Picasso chose to use blue, was that blue is the colour of melancholy and emotions and using it helped him to grieve artistically and eventually heal. In Christian iconography, blue represents the divine, so it is also possible that this could have influenced Picasso's choice of colour. Another more cynical view is that Picasso at the time was a struggling artist and painted under low-light conditions, which accounts for the choice of colour.

I attempted to use the background history and the mood induced by the work done by Picasso during his blue period, as an inspiration for a painting of my own. Here are the results:


  1. Jill, I find the expressions on your sketches of faces, very intriguing; wonder what thoughts pass through your mind when you work on such sketches:) Mike too admired all of the above, love the calligraphy in particular! Keep on at it, you haven't yet peaked as an artist...Love, Joan.

  2. I love the Picasso like style but the way also you inserted your own style. Great homage to a master.

    1. Thank you Shelley. I am glad you like my take on Picasso


Post a Comment

Popular Posts