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“Girl Before a Mirror” by Picasso, Pablo

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In “Girl Before a Mirror,” Pablo Picasso uses cubism and contrasting colors to create a pessimistic tone to illustrate the duality of the woman’s nature. The painter uses simple shapes and lines to create the body of the woman, but he remains successful at displaying her both in side profile and frontally as she peers into a mirror that reflects a woman she is not. In reality, she is a beautiful pregnant woman with perky, round breasts and small eyes. As she stares at her reflection, she sees herself as an old woman, whose young body has been distorted and gravity has taken its rightful place, creating a self pity attitude. Picasso uses vivid, live colors to portray the woman in reality, but the reflection includes dark, gloomy colors such as purple and blue, which are closely related to depression. The woman sees her young days being washed away from her face, suggested by the green discoloration on her forehead and darkening of her facial features. This dual nature of the woman indicates that she fails to see her beauty, causing her to live in fear of being judged.

Pablo Picasso was a part of the Modernism movement at the beginning of the 20th century, a time period in which adoption of complex styles and forms were undertaken to provide new meanings. “Girl Before a Mirror” speaks about what constitutes a self; how we see ourselves versus how others see us. Picasso may have created that mirror instead of an open door to “separate” our dual natures, preventing us from becoming too absorbed in our imaginary world.

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