Picasso Museum of Barcelona

The Pigeons
Dated 6.9./57 on the back
Oil on canvas
100 x 80 cm
Donated by the artist, 1968
MPB 70.450

The Work

Picasso interrupted his concentrated study of Las Meninas for a few days and, from September 6th to 14th, created 9 canvases of the doves he could see from the window of his studio at La Californie Villa, leading to believe it was a rest and release from such obsessive work.

The studio had a row of balconies running above the garden with the loft Picasso himself had built a year earlier to the side, full of pigeons of all types and colours. Doves accompanied him from childhood when, with his father José Ruiz Blasco, he made his first drawings, also part of the Museum collection.

In this work, some doves are resting in the loft, some peck at the food on the ground and another group are resting on the rail, whilst a final dove has taken flight. All the spaces in the painting are compartmentalised via thick black outlining and painted with vivid colours giving the work a relief structure. The balcony is open wide and lets all the Mediterranean light in, making the work an exuberant explosion of colour. The doves, the vegetation, the sea … features of everyday reality shine with vivid dazzling colour.

There is also another traditional theme in Picasso’s work – the window, a communication vessel between the inside and landscape outside. There are different examples housed at the Museum: Riera de Sant Joan Street from the Window in the Artist’s Studio, the portrait of his sister painted in the same studio, Lola, the Artist’s Sister, both from 1900 and The Passeig de Colom, from 1917.


Room 15