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Pablo Picasso’s Portrait of a young lady


This iconic linocut, based on Lucas Cranach the Younger’s 1564 Portrait of a young lady at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, is one of Picasso’s most famous and enduring statements in the graphic medium. It is an expressive improvisation on the sixteenth-century portrait, in which the artist brilliantly exploits the linocut’s inherent potential for intense colour and decorative abstraction of form. The dense, lustrous deposit of ink that is characteristic of the linocut is utilized, through the superimposition of five layers of colour, to create a tactile, painterly surface. 

One of the most technically complex of all of Picasso’s linocuts, this work is the only major piece that respects the traditional technique of cutting individual blocks for each colour. 

Cathy Leahy