The artist and the model

Michel Leiris considered the Picassian theme of artist and model as 'a genre in itself'. However, Picasso seldom represented himself with his own face, but turned instead to archetypes taken from artistic iconography in one of his classical metamorphoses that can only occasionally be deciphered in self-referential terms. For various reasons we know that the sculptor in Suite Vollard during the 1930s and the painter in Suite Verve in the 1950s had their biographical correlates. During the last years of his career Picasso insisted on the structural leitmotif of the image of the artist, which was in fact a sublimation of his own personality. Rather than the idea of portraying himself though, what inspired him was a desire to reflect on the image of the artist. Be that as it may, he was often deliberately ambiguous and we come across several kinds of self-portraits according to the degree of resemblance to his physiognomy: the explicit self-portrait (less common), the self-portrait with evocative features, and the symbolic self-portrait.