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A VISUAL DEMONSTRATION BY PICASSO OF HIS CREATIVE PROCESS
on February 24, 2013
This is a fascinating demonstration by Picasso of his creative ability and his working technique. It is amazing to see how he begins a drawing or a painting at an improbable point, e.g. the upper left hand corner of the canvas, with a line which looks quite baffling at first, but which rapidly develops into a complete and intelligible picture. His mastery of drawing is evident at every moment. No erasing. No shaky lines. It is evident that he has a mental impression of the picture before he starts, so that the picture that emerges after that improbable start is correctly placed to fill the canvas. And what a picture it is! We have not one but many drawings created before our eyes. He also demonstrates his ability to change course as he works, as new ideas occur to him, totally transforming the work. In a final scene, he virtually destroys and recreates a beach scene several times as he reveals this amazing talent. It is astonishing to see how unerringly he can encapsulate an entire scene such a a bullfight with a few strokes of his brush. Note how a few simple marks in the background convincingly denote a large crowd. I found this entire performance absolutely captivating.
The filming technique is also masterful, so that the film is an artwork in itself. The film is actually a record of what appears on the reverse side of Picasso's canvas as he works. Picasso uses special inks that penetrate the canvas. The viewer sees the picture developing without the presence of the artist. During several breaks in the film, Picasso appears.
The film was made with a running commentary in French. Two separate and different commentaries in English have been added, so one may choose any of three versions. I have watched it several times with each of the English commentaries and have been well pleased with each.
The French government designated this film a National Treasure. This accolade surely indicates its significance.
Who am I to gainsay what the French government thinks? For me, The Mystery of Picasso is certainly a private treasure. It is the best value for money that I have enjoyed for a long time.