Picasso’s gift for caricature developed in childhood, when he also painted his first ‘serious’ portraits. Thereafter the two genres co-existed in his oeuvre, conventional distinctions between them becoming increasingly blurred as his commitment to subjectivity and expression strengthened. Because Picasso habitually resorted to forms of distortion and exaggeration it is often difficult to define the mood of a given portrait or to determine the degree to which satire, irony or humour may be present. The lecture will explore these issues and the role of caricature in his practice as a portraitist.
Professor Elisabeth Cowling is Professor Emeritus in history of Art at the University of Edinburgh. Her most influential book is Picasso: Style and Meaning, and she has curated several major exhibitions, including Matisse/Picasso and Picasso: Sculptor/Painter.