The Symbolism and History of Pablo Picasso's "Friendship"
Pablo Picasso (1881–1973) was one of the most influential figures in modern art and is renowned for his pioneering work in cubism, surrealism and other genres. One of his greatest works, “Friendship” (1908), reflects both his artistic style as well as the turbulent political events happening at the time in Spain. By analyzing this painting, we can gain insight into some of the symbolic elements as well as contextual influences that shaped its creation.
The main figures in “Friendship” are two men sitting side by side on a bench - though not looking at each other - suggestive of a kind of companionship without expectation or judgment between them. This may have been reflective of how Picasso viewed himself during this period – with limited opportunities to express himself creatively whilst simultaneously searching for a sense of belonging despite an oppressive government regime. In addition to this, light has been used to emphasize certain aspects such as their faces which gives them a softer more vulnerable appearance than one might expect from traditional portraiture.
The painting was created during Spain’s Second Republic period (1931–39). This was a very tumultuous time full of political unrest due to growing tensions between left-wing Republicans and right-wing Nationalists which eventually led to the Spanish Civil War (1936–39). It is possible that this work attempts to question established conventions by subtly grounding its narrative in politics without explicitly naming it such – something that could have been dangerous due to repressive government censorship at that time.
By considering these elements – symbolism, color theory and historical context – we can gain further understanding into artwork like “Friendship” by Pablo Picasso. Furthermore, by analyzing symbols within pieces like this we can unlock hidden meanings behind them which can be incredibly insightful into other works from various periods too.