Friday, December 29, 2006
The latest addition to my evening wardrobe are my very own harlequin designed Gap pajama pants. Only because of a conformity to societal norms am I choosing not to wear them all day every day.
Though clownish by nature, harlequin is and always has been one of my favorite designs. It is perhaps for this reason that Picasso remains in my top twenty artists. Picasso used the harlequin design in several of his paintings. In Harlequin with Glass, Picasso put himself in a harlequin costume surrounded by friends, or at least acquaintances at a cafe. It looks like he was heavily influenced by Toulouse-Lautrec with the rather cartoonish figures in the background. The painting is a departure from his more somber blue period with his addition of reds, yellows and greens with warmer tones of brown for a background.
Another painting of his with a harlequin design is Family of Saltimbanques. Even though the family members seem distant emotionally, the physical proximity of the figures, especially with the father holding his young daughter's hand, is altogether charming. Much has been written about the melancholy nature of the figures, but to me they seem content in each other's company.
Perhaps my favorite Picasso painting of all is Paul in a Clown Suit. The absolute command of his portrait abilities is reflected in the subtle expression on Paul's face. Masterfully drawn, the sketch like quality of the rest of the painting further emphasizes our focus on his son's face. We aren't distracted by frivolous lace or an ornate chair. We only see a father's love for his young son. Given Picasso's well-documented narcissism, it's pleasant to see a painting that demonstrates a love for someone besides himself.