The painting “A Pauper Old Man with a Boy” is a very bright work that characterizes the whole “blue” period of Pablo Picasso. The productive period of creativity, nicknamed blue art critics, was distinguished by tragic and melancholic intonations. Grief, loneliness, need, suffering – these are the main emotions permeating the “blue” work. The artist himself considered this color to be the best for depicting such piercingly bitter moods.
The presented picture is painted in a blue scale, further emphasizing the pallor of haggard faces depicted in the picture and the orphanedness and aloofness of the figures.
The withered old man with a wrinkled face and beard bent over a thin little boy. The old man’s gaze looks nowhere, so one may suspect him of blindness. Large but thin, bony feet are brought to the fore, which accentuate attention, creating unbearable feelings for the viewer.
At the right shoulder of the old man, crouched on the floor, sits a boy, eating a small piece of bread. His deep and thoughtful look deprives a child’s face at least a hint of vitality so characteristic of all children.
It is very difficult to understand who it is – a grandfather with a grandson or a blind man with a guide? Picasso does not reveal this mystery to us. Only one thing is obvious – the unbreakable bond of these two people. That is why the boy is so close to the old man, and he without hesitation gives the child, perhaps the last piece of bread.
The picture has curious, seemingly incompatible properties: on the one hand these are static figures devoid of any movement, and on the other, in their postures and detached views can be read, or rather felt, so much hopelessness and melancholy that makes this picture incredibly emotional and powerful impact on the viewer.
From the point of view of technology, this work is still devoid of the bold experiments inherent in the subsequent paintings of the master – this is a linear construction of the composition, almost realistic writing of figures. Innovation is precisely in color. Picasso deliberately saved the picture from unnecessary color, leaving only blue, creating volume and space only with combinations of shades and dark clear lines.
Of all the works created by the master at this time, this picture is recognized as the most “blue”, meaning by this the maximum saturation of the color spectrum.