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Picasso’s Blue Period

In his early twenties, the young Pablo Picasso began to tint his paintings a pale, cold blue. For three years (1901-1904), he paints as if he is viewing the world through blue spectacles. No other artist had ever done this. Two questions arise. What effect did Picasso intend to achieve? And why did he do it? This painting, The Tragedy, is typical of the period.

The Tragedy, Pablo Picasso, 1903. Recolored by Laura Joy Lustig in 2003.

Why does the painting look so gloomy? The coloring has great effect. See how the mood of the painting eases if you remove the color, or recolor it with different hues.