Pablo Picasso's long career comprised several successive and radical shifts in formal concerns and, to a lesser degree, in subject matter. During and after his stylistic periods — Blue, Rose, Cubism, Neoclassicism, and Surrealism — Picasso explored themes in his own life and the world around him. In 1937 Picasso executed his mammoth antiwar canvas Guernica , a protest to the carnage of the Spanish Civil War. After Picasso completed Guernica he abandoned all but one of its motifs: the weeping woman. He drew her frequently, almost obsessively, for the next several months. Tears all over her face, the figure in Weeping Woman with Handkerchief is an emblem of despair. Yet crowned with the traditional matronly mantilla, she is also the embodiment of Spanish womanhood. She represented Picasso's public and private agony: She was the victim of war, the grieving mother, the terrified peasant, the stunned survivor; but more specifically, she was a portrait of his lover, the artist-photographer Dora Maar, one in a long line of Picasso's muses. Picasso's dramatic relationships with women informed the metaphors he used to express the intensity of his feelings over events in Spain.More...
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