Sunday, 23 June 2013

Evocation (The Burial of Casagemas)

I went to the Courtauld Gallery a few weeks ago, a few days prior to the Becoming Picasso exhibition closing.

I keep making the point that I’m an enthusiastic amateur when it comes to appreciating art, but from what I’ve seen, Picasso’s blue period is intensely interesting.

The paintings inspired by his friend, the poet Casagemas, who’d committed suicide in Paris in 1901 are sad and poignant.

The painting I found the most beautiful was Evocation (The Burial of Casagemas) painted that same year.

Blue is always an appealing colour to the eye, we are naturally drawn to it and a gallery space hanging with some of the most magnificent “blue” Picassos was a special privilege.

The picture in this blog post doesn’t do justice to this painting, it’s big and subtle, full of depth and sensitivity. Picasso was making sense of the death of a loved one. The corpse of the poet lies in the bottom left, mourners cry and bid him goodbye, but Casagemas is ascending to heaven, death rides a white horse. And his companions, his angelic host, are naked prostitutes, standing on clouds. One of them drapes herself round his shoulders, a last kiss before he leaves this world.

What a wonderful painting.