Picasso’s Five Figures in a Boat (1909)
This 1909 drawing by Picasso in the Musée Picasso, Paris, is described as Five Figures in a Boat. However, only if you know that self-representational meaning and visual illusion are at the very heart of art are you likely to recognize that the scene takes place inside a girl’s head.
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The trees on either side double as her hair; the edge of the boat for her mouth; and other lines for her eye and chin. Since the girl is a female representation of Picasso, one of her eyes is closed for insight while the other, only subtly suggested around a blank space, is open to the material world. An oar extends from the tear duct of that eye straight into the water, an early hint perhaps of the later Weeping Women.
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More Works by Picasso
Learn how Picasso used swords as "paintbrushes", "etching needles" and other tools of the trade
See how Picasso writes his own identity over someone else's face
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