As early as 1927, Pablo Picasso began to explore the theme of the artist in his studio. He returned to it often, sometimes employing the motif in an autobiographical way. In certain instances, including this painting, Picasso painted himself as the artist, and the models he depicted often reflected his love interest at the time. Here, the artist’s second wife, Jacqueline Roque (French, 1927–1986), assumes the role of the languid, reclining model. She gazes at a parakeet in her hand, which symbolizes life itself. The exceedingly comfortable eroticism of her pose embodies Picasso’s reflections on the creative process and the ways in which a muse can serve as both creative inspiration and sensual object.
Label from Picasso: The Artist and His Models, November 5, 2016–February 19, 2017