Woman in Blue with a Beret presents all the
characteristics of Picasso’s blue period in Barcelona from April
1903 to April 1904.
- Three quarter face portrait, painted half-length . The
face in the forefront , haloed in blue.
- A predominance of blue with shades spanning from dark
blue to luminous blue reflections, obtained simply by the use of two
blue pigments, namely: cobalt blue and Prussian blue. « The extraordinary
blue of the Barcelona paintings» (Pierre Daix) is to be found
in this portrait, this blue obtained thanks to the quality of the pigments
made in Spain at that time. More, the scientific analysis of the pigments
revealed that Picasso mixed with these blue pigments some touches of
- The outlines of the volumes in black-blue are already
- The restraint and sadness in the clothing and in the
hairstyle, which are in gloomy blue, dark blue veering towards dark
violet. Luminous sheens play on this dark blue. This portrait corresponds
exactly to the relationship « face - cape - hood » so well
described by Pierre Daix.
- The face and lips of Woman in Blue with a Beret
become brighter thanks to the use by Picasso of pink pigments brushed
while still wet on the mat white background. This method is found in
many portraits painted in Barcelona between April 1903 and April 1904.
- The line of the arch of the eyebrows continues until
the root of the nose.
- The nose and mouth have a lot in common with Picasso’s.
A study by the Metropolitan Museum of New York underline « that
it is easy to find in the portraits painted by Picasso features of his
own face ». The resemblance of the nose and the mouth of Woman
in Blue with a Beret with Picasso’s is not surprising.
- The look is in a vivid blue, piercing, magnetic and has
a great force of expression.
- The eyes, in contrast with the « Spanish »
eyes in which the pupil is drowned in the iris, are perfectly drawn
in details. These eyes are found in several paintings of the 1903-1904
- On the portrait of Woman in Blue with a Beret,
one should notice the coiled plaits on each side of the face. This hairstyle
was usual for the women at that time, who had long hair and coiled them
either in a bun or parted them in the middle and swept back round the
sides. The coiled buns painted by Picasso in 1903 are different from
those of other years. These coils recall of the spirals which Picasso
depicts all through his life and of which his mother says « that
he started to draw spirals before speaking ». They remind him
of a sort of sugar cake called torruella. (Roland Penrose)