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Oil on canvas
Framed: 239 x 170 x 10 cm (94 1/8 x 66 15/16 x 3 15/16 in.); Unframed: 196.5 x 129.2 cm (77 3/8 x 50 7/8 in.)
Gift of the Hanna Fund 1945.24
© Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
In 1901, depressed over the suicide of a close friend, Picasso launched into the melancholic paintings of his Blue period (1901–4). Only 20 years old and desperately poor, he restricted his palette to cold colors suggestive of night, mystery, dreams, and death. His obsession with themes of human misery and social alienation reached its climax with this painting. The subject has been interpreted variously as an allegory of sacred and profane love, a symbolic representation of the cycle of life, and a working-class couple facing the hazards of real life.
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