Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

As the subtitle of Pablo Picasso: The Man and the Image suggests, Richard B. Lyttle attempts to reveal Picasso’s stubborn and, at times, selfish determination to control. For example, Lyttle discusses an incident in which an American art dealer came to Picasso’s studio wanting to purchase some of his works and willing to pay a considerable amount for them. Picasso, however, was more interested in the man’s new London hat. He told the dealer that, if he brought him a hat exactly like it, then they could do business. The man rushed back to England, purchased a duplicate, and returned the following day. Picasso accepted the hat but refused to sell the dealer any paintings. This side of Picasso’s personality was most obvious in his often unkind relations with women. Lyttle claims that Picasso saw women as either doormats or goddesses, and that he treated most of them as doormats.

Lyttle unveils the personal life of Picasso and ties it to his art. For example, the author describes Picasso’s large painting entitled La Vie (1903), which contains a man embraced by a naked woman, while a clothed woman, holding a child, stands by, watching. All the faces are expressionless, but the obvious struggle between physical love, represented by the naked woman, and ideal love, represented by the young mother, is clear. Lyttle goes on to claim that this ancient theme appears repeatedly in Picasso’s work, appealing to his love for paradox and...

(The entire section is 538 words.)