Maya with Doll | Maya à la poupée | The Oil Painting of Pablo Picasso

Maya with Doll (Maya à la poupée) is an oil painting by Pablo Picasso. Created in 1938, the New York Times described it as “a colorful Cubist portrait of Picasso’s daughter (fr:Maya Widmaier-Picasso) as a child clutching a doll.”

Maya with Doll is an oil painting made by Picasso in 1938. Maya with Doll is painted in cubist style and features Picasso’s daughter, Maya, clutching her doll. Picasso was among /artists who pioneered the cubist movement. Cubism can be defined as a type of art in which objects are broken apart and reassembled in an abstract way, so that each object is depicted from multiple viewpoints. In 2007, Maya with Doll was stolen from the home of Picasso’s granddaughter. Luckily, it was recovered by French police later that year.

As daughter Maya plays with her doll, adoring father Picasso plays with his latest artistic processing of space and colour. The plastic phase of figurative distortion is continued, while the characteristics of the face are pushed and remoulded, as though constructed from modelling clay. As always, Picasso’s sense of fun and humour surface: the doll has the real face, whereas that of the child is surreal, a beautiful juxtaposition. Both heads are absurdly enlarged compared to the rest of the body. The doll’s eyes match Maia’s outfit and Maya’s match the doll’s sailor’s costume, and so the child is interchangeable with the doll.

The doll is probably a bizarre signifier for Picasso the father, who as a child was also pictured dressed in such an outfit. In the same way, Picasso was interchangeable with his son Paulo in the harlequin costume in his portrait of 1924. Despite the modernist distortions, this painting of Maya is suggestive of that earlier sentimental picture. The cuffs, ruffs and frills of sixteenth-century Spanish master Diego Velazquez, featured in the Paulo portrait, return here in Maya’s frothy attire. They serve to define the body’s pyramidal outline against the simplistic horizontal blocks of brown and white that separate the floor and wall planes.


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