- Artist: Pablo Picasso
- Creation date: 1927
- Object type: Painting
Pablo Picasso’s life as an artist unfolded in phases defined by their highly diverging styles. Following his cubistic period, from 1917 to 1924 he developed an idiosyncratic variant of neo-classicism where he usually depicted human figures. Even though some of Picasso’s paintings from this period took up elements from the cubist idiom, his primary interest was in figurative aspects. But from 1924 another shift took place, and the formal problems of cubism returned to the fore in the following years. Once again it was the still-life genre that served as the basis for Picasso’s spatial play and experimentation, as evinced in the National Museum’s Still Life.
Unlike Picasso’s previous still lifes (1909–17), those from the latter half of the 1920s were executed on larger-sized canvases and are characterized by their intense colours. The depicted objects are often a guitar or mandolin, a variety of fruits, a bottle, and often also a patterned tablecloth. By adding a patterned tablecloth, curtains, or (as in Still Life) wallpaper, rhythm and variation is added to the surface. The cubist idiom – where layers overlap and elements merge with one another, making it hard to identify the individual objects – still pervades, but the objects and overall composition have more of a decorative effect. Picasso’s pictures from the late 1920s embody a sense of vitality and expressiveness, and we can detect a certain resemblance with the still lifes of Henri Matisse.