At MoMA, Pablo Picasso Creates New Anatomies

THE DAILY PIC: Before making sculpture, Picasso conjures a new world to sculpt.


THE DAILY PIC (#1400, Picasso Edition): A second piece from MoMA’s show of Picasso sculptures, this time a drawing from 1930 titled An Anatomy: Three Women, in the Musee Picasso collection in Paris. Yesterday, I argued that Picasso’s most famous sculpture of a guitar isn’t meant to represent the instrument itself, but to be a kind of 3D realization of how that guitar might appear in one of his still-life canvases. That is, we need to think of it as a sculpture of a painting.

Today’s 2D piece, I believe, needs to be seen as a drawing of a sculpture – before the sculpture even exists. I’m not saying that the drawing is anything like a normal preparatory sketch for some 3D piece Picasso might have intended to make. Instead, the drawing is a kind of rethinking of the world in Picassoid sculptural terms. It’s a drawing of the world, that is, if the world were the kind of world that can be found in Picasso’s sculptures.

Instead of working forward from reality to its depiction, as had been done before him, Picasso starts with the depiction he wants to make, then dreams up the reality that it reflects. And then, in today’s Daily Pic at least, he draws that reality with an academician’s precision. Or – remembering the subject and title of the piece – is it the precision of a pornographer or vivisectionist? (© 2015 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York)

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