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The Artist and His Model

© Succession Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

© Succession Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

© Succession Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

Pablo Picasso

Spanish, 1881-1973

The Artist and His Model, 1964

oil on canvas

support: 38 1/8 x 51 1/4 inches (96.8375 x 130.175 cm); framed: 48 5/8 x 62 1/4 x 3 inches (123.51 x 158.12 x 7.62 cm)

Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York

Gift of The Seymour H. Knox Foundation, Inc., 1965


More Details


signature / lower left / Picasso



Work Type

Oil painting

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Verbal Description Audio

Pablo Picasso

The Artist and His Model

Oil on canvas, made in 1964

This artwork is four feet tall and five feet wide and is horizontally oriented. This painting depicts two figures. There is a male figure on the left who holds a simplified paint palette and paint brush. On the right side of the work there is a reclining, nude female figure. This description will provide detail of each figure and then describe the background.

The left, vertical third of the work is dominated by the artist figure. The top of his hair touches the top edge of the canvas. His knees, and everything that would follow is cut out of the picture plane at the bottom of the canvas. The figure’s head is the largest part and out of proportion with the rest of the body. The head fills almost the entire top half of this vertical third. The face is flat. The facial features are defined by simple black lines. The eyes are round, wide and open. They sit high on the face at the forehead, there are no eyelids or eyebrows but a single black line in the shape of a wide v above the eyes to the left of center. There are also two short diagonal lines on the left side of the left eye which could indicate wrinkles or squinting. One vertical straight line indicated the left side of the nose. The right side of the nose is created with a single inward curving line that runs from the inside corner of the right eye to a tiny horizontal line indicating a nostril. Following this thinned, black curved line is a wide swath of peach. This thick stroke of pale peach reaches from the exterior corner of the right eye, follows the curved nose line and ends at the upper right corner of the lips. This contrasts a bright blue streak that runs diagonally from the exterior corner of the left eye to the bottom right side of the chin. This blue streak momentarily breaks where two horizontal, parallel lines, the top straight and the bottom curved, indicate a mouth. The left side of the face is shaded with a charcoal grey, the right side is done with a cold off white that includes a touch of pale green. Facial hair is lightly indicated by a few black dots running along the exterior of the chin, heaviest on the left side of the face.

A thin white rectangle that tappers at the bottom suggests a torso. It starts directly under the center of the chin and includes three loosely defined grey circles. An imperfect circle of medium tan is outlined with black and overlaps slightly the top left of the torso. Where the circle meets the torso three black lines curve halfway down and to the left. A straight diagonal line runs through this meeting point and extends upward to the left and downward to the right across the figure. This line is black and edged with white on the top left. Below this circle is a rounded, much wider white rectangle that includes three horizontal striped of the same bright blue found on the face. On the opposite side of the torso is a straight horizontal black line connected to gestural lines implying a hand grasping a piece of paper. The paper is only indicated by black lines and is filled with the background color. Two white rectangles, which imply legs meet at the bottom of the torso and move in opposite diagonals to the bottom and off of the canvas.

The remaining two thirds to the right are filled with a reclining nude female figure. The tip of the big toe of the woman’s left foot almost touches the hip of the male figure. Her left leg rests horizontally and is bent at the knee. Her right leg is also bent with her knee pointing upwards. Her genitals are defined by bold black lines. A curved line shows her stomach. The top of her breasts are defined by an upward facing v with curved lines showing the bottom. Her left arm widens downward as it reaches her oversized hand and fingers. She appears to rest her weight on her left arm and lean back. Her roughly defined right hand rests just on top of her right knee. A black gestural shape is perched atop her right hand. Her face is in profile looking towards the artist. Her eye is boldly defined in black with a sharp pointed nose, her lips and chin are dramatically shortened in comparison to her nose. She has solid black hair that falls down along her neck as well as pulled behind the top of her head.

Along the back of the woman on the furthest right side of the canvas, the space below the woman and in between the artist’s legs is an ochre yellow. The majority of the background, extending throughout the entire left side and through the middle space between the figures as well as behind the woman’s torso is painted in grey. Brushstrokes are clearly evident and move in varying directions. The space just above the woman’s hand, to the immediate right of the artist’s head to the top of the canvas is a cool pale green.

Information may change due to ongoing research.Glossary of Terms

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

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