An Exhilarating Interpretation of “The Old Guitarist” 1903- A Painting by Pablo Picasso

Category: Art

Pablo Picasso’s “The old guitarist” is one of his most famous paintings. It is one of his notable works from the blue period. Notably, the particular painting is one of his most outstanding works. It is available at the art institute in Chicago.

Picasso’s old guitarist remains one of his most artistic pieces to date. He painted the old guitarist in 1903 after the suicide death of Pablo Picasso’s close friend Casagemas. Pablo was himself going through hard times as an artist. Many of his paintings during this period have a signature monochromatic blue palette.

In this article, we examine the old guitarist’s 1903 painting by Pablo Picasso. We also get to understand the interpretation of the famous painting.

Pablo Picasso Early Life

Pablo Picasso was born on October 25, 1881, in Málaga, Spain. His father, José Ruiz Blasco, was a professor of art at the School of Fine Arts in Málaga. Pablo’s mother, Maria Picasso Lopez, was a homemaker. Pablo had two sisters, Lola and Conchita, and a brother, Pablo. Pablo’s family was middle-class, and they encouraged his artistic talents.

Young Pablo began drawing and painting at a very young age and showed signs of great talent. Picasso immersed himself fully in his art. His father was his first art teacher and helped him master painting and sculpting skills.

Picasso was born to a middle-class family, and he took in his father’s footsteps. His blind guitarist painting relates to the plight of artists struggling to make a life. Picasso was an unconventional painter creating a self-portrait.

Pablo Picasso attended the School of Fine Arts in Málaga from 1892 to 1897. In 1897, Pablo moved to Barcelona to study at the Academy of Fine Arts. Pablo was only 16 years old when he left home to study art. Pablo did not finish his studies at the Academy, and he soon experimented with different painting styles.

Pablo Picasso’s depiction of poverty

Many artists and other outcasts live miserable life. The low-paying gigs and lack of them leave them out on the streets. The guitarist depicts a story of a man torn between holding on to his guitar and leaving. He has nothing but his yellow guitar. 

The man is an elderly homeless person. The guitar in the man’s hands has lost its color because of years of being out in the sun and rain. The old guitarist slumps over his guitar, which he seems to protect.

An old man clutching a yellow guitar shows he has nothing left. The old man’s guitar is his priced possession. Also, the brown guitar is the only thing an old musician lives for.

Picasso’s Painting at the Art Institute of Chicago

The old guitarist
Courtesy of

The Pablo Picasso painting “The old guitarist”

The blind guitarist is an example of how Pablo Picasso could show emotion in his paintings. Pablo Picasso was a master at using color to convey emotion. The colors are muted and dark, conveying sadness and despair. The only splash of color in the painting is the yellow guitar against the rest of the art. Pablo Picasso could use color to create an effect in this painting, and it is one thing that makes it so powerful.

The Pablo Picasso painting “The old guitarist” portrays poverty and desperation. Pablo Picasso could use color and composition to create a feeling of despair and loneliness.

The body of the elderly man is in a distorted angular form. The head is bent forward, and the crossed legs of the blind guitar player seem to create an impossible posture. It depicts a hopeless musician at the end of his luck.

According to the painting, society isolates musicians and artists. They live a solitary life by choosing an unconventional way of living. Most artists live miserably and never enjoy the fruits of their work. The helpless musician is a thoughtful expression of human existence.

Picasso’s Blue Period

Pablo Picasso’s “Blue Period” began in 1901 and lasted until 1904. During this time, Pablo used shades of blue and blue-green for his art. Pablo’s paintings during the Blue Period are often sad and melancholy and depict poor and homeless people. Pablo’s painting “The old guitarist” is from his Blue Period, and it is a prime example of the type of painting he did during this time. Pablo’s Blue Period paintings are some of his most famous artworks.

Picasso used the hues of blue to create a melancholy that expresses emotional turmoil. Also, it was a show of one’s grief for all the hardships he faced. Many of his paintings from this period feature people. There is a painting of a child kneeling, a weeping woman, a young mother, and many more. The color scheme in Picasso’s art is a powerful tool. It creates a ghostly presence.

Pablo has many famous paintings. After Picasso’s Blue Period, he went through the rose period. Later came the African period and modern art. Picasso got to enjoy and sell his art. His paintings are available at the art institute of Chicago, the Cleveland museum, and the national gallery.

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An Exhilarating Interpretation of “The Old Guitarist” 1903- A Painting by Pablo Picasso. (2022, Sep 24). Retrieved from

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