5 Backstory Behind Greatest Paintings!

1. The Old Guitarist by Pablo Picasso

The old guitarist is a painting of a young skeleton man with an old guitar, sitting on the floor and bending his shoulder helplessly like a beggar. His eyes closed and for the first time you encounter with this image, you could see the burden in his life, his heart is screaming about the endless misery throughout his entire life. Dominated by a darker tone such as blueish and greyish color, the painting is a reflection of greatest sorrow and pain. Apparently, this painting is a resemblance of Pablo’s Picasso early years in searching for fame. At that time he and his best friend, Carlos Casagemas moved to Paris. After one year in Paris, Carlos got depressed since he failed miserably in a love affair and choose to have a suicide. The death of his friend stroke Pablo Picasso, not long until he, himself, suffered from depression. The poverty has associated him with another outcast in a society which is beggars and prostitutes. The old guitarist itself come during this “Blue” life of Picasso. That’s why later on his early work we called by Picasso’s Blue Period which lasted from 1901 to 1904. Spooky things about this painting are the finding of two different paintings beneath the old guitarist body. By using an infrared, the researcher had found an image of a mother and a child, also an older woman. The reason why they are there remains unknown.

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2. Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth

Andrew Wyeth is a painter who finished his best work, Christina’s World, in 1948. Christina’s world itself becomes a famous painting in the middle of 20th century. The painting shows a woman who is lying on the ground of a spacious field, her eyes looking at the barn and the small house quite far in front of her. This artwork is actually inspired by Anna Christina Olson who is a friend of Andrew and his wife. She is suffered from a condition called Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. This is an inherited disease which affects the motor and sensory neuropathy. Andrew was in his summer house and saw Anna Christina Olson crawling across a field one day which gives him inspiration for the painting. Even Anna is his inspiration, Andrew used his wife to be a model of this painting.


3. Olympia by Édouard Manet

By the time we saw this painting, we get drowned by a beautiful figure of a young woman who is lying naked on a bed. We probably guess that this controversial art is a painting of a prostitute depicted by her nude figure. Well, what shocked the public at that time is because the model itself is a painter named Victorine Meurent. The painting created a controversial topic among the audience since Édouard Manet gave a number of details of her as a prostitute. Interestingly the details are not solely lay on her nudity but the orchid in her hair, the bracelet, black ribbon on her neck, oriental shawl and pearl earrings as a symbol of wealth and sensuality. Her gaze as if she welcomed the guest and a black cat beside her bed which traditionally symbolized prostitution. Olympia then becomes a name associated with prostitutes in 1860’s Paris.


4. Saturno devorando a Su Hijo by Francisco Goya

This Artwork of Francisco Goya, Saturno devorando a Su Hijo or Saturn devouring his son, is never meant to exhibit publicly. This painting used to hang in his dining room. This painting tells a story of Saturn, the Titan who consuming one of his children. Saturn eats all his children because he doesn’t want the prophecy becomes reality. The prophecy itself told that Saturn would be defeated by one of his children just as Saturn defeated his father, Caelus. The dark mystical haunted ambiance presented by this image probably as an interpretation of the conflict happens in Spain at that time where fatherland consumed its own children in war and revolution. Other interpretation comes from the life of Francisco Goya itself. Francisco Goya actually had six children, but only his son Xavier survived adulthood. Is the painting part of his fear of losing Xavier? No one knows since he never intended to give further explanation about this painting.


5. Dama con l’ermellino by Leonardo Da Vinci

Translated as “The Lady with the Ermine”, this painting shows an image of a young gorgeous lady named Cecilia Gallerani. The painting itself has a love triangle story between Cecilia and Leonardo’s employer, Ludovico Sforza. Ludovico had a wife called Beatrice d’Este.  Beatrice was promised to the Duke when she was 5 years old and married at the age of 16. The Duke fell in love with Cecilia. When Beatrice know they were still keeping in touch she arranges a forced marriage between Cecilia and local count, Bergamino. In 1487 Cecilia went to annul the marriage and the request was granted. Cecilia’s then come back to her lover, Ludovico Sforza. She becomes his mistress and bore him a son. The white-coated stoat known as Ermine in this picture is associated with the pure Love they had for each other and also indicated her pregnancy.


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