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Blum, H.P. Blum, E.J. (2007). The Models of Picasso's Rose Period: the Family of Saltimbanques. Am. J. Psychoanal., 67(2):181-196.

(2007). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 67(2):181-196

On the Arts

The Models of Picasso's Rose Period: the Family of Saltimbanques

Harold P. Blum, M.D. and Elsa J. Blum, M.D.

The word “model” in this context has a variety of meanings. The concept of “model” encompasses the external person who is represented by the artist, as well as the internal, conscious and unconscious, past and present mental representations of other individuals and the work of other artists. In all of these meanings, the relationships of artist and model have been quite specific to the artist under consideration and the historical-cultural period. For Picasso, the relationship of artist and model was particularly intense, reflecting myriad aspects of his personality and artistic development. The theme of artist and model was the subject of many of his paintings and graphic works. We focus particularly on his use of harlequins, saltimbanques, and circus performers during his blue and rose periods. The change in predominant models and moods between periods is noted. Among the issues considered is the relevance of these models in this particular period. Why were they especially salient objects for identification and for his artistic identity? Identification with the model may represent or be linked to earlier identifications of adolescence and childhood. We discuss the implications of these portrayals for his object relationships and the magical power, possession, and control in the development of his art. The painting “The Family of Saltimbanques,” his most ambitious work to date, the integration and culmination of this theme during this period, is of particular interest.

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