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Pablo Picasso

Lamp and Cherries


Pablo Picasso
Málaga, Spain, 1881 – Mougins, France, 1973


Lamp and Cherries




Oil on canvas


72.4 x 98.8 cm


Purchase, gift of friends of the Museum, inv. 1968.1610


Western Art

At the end of World War II, the loss of his long-time friend the poet Max Jacob – who was Jewish and had perished in France in the Drancy internment camp – led Pablo Picasso to reflect on the theme of death and confinement. Using objects that were right at hand in his studio, he came up with a distinctly modern reinterpretion of the vanitas and its classic components: the mirror, a symbol of the passage of time, reflects nothing, and the oil lamp on the table sheds no light. Despite the food restrictions in force at the end of the war, Picasso included cherries in the dish, which introduce an element of joy and renewed life evocative of the liberation of Paris and the regaining of freedom.

© Estate of Picasso / SOCAN (2024)

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