Pablo Picasso
Young Acrobat on a Ball. 1905

After Picasso moved to Paris in 1904 his work acquired new figures, itinerant artistes, and with them came a new tonality of pictorial treatment, which gave the name to a whole stage in his development, the Rose Period (1905-1906). An indisputable masterpiece of this period is the canvas Young Acrobat on a Ball, in which the depiction of travelling circus artistes acquires the nature of an allegory and goes far beyond the framework of the genre scene. A moment of improvised rehearsing is turned into a meaningful composition of epic dimensions, like a fresco. The picture is based on the contrast of the powerful figure of the athlete sitting on a massive cube and the graceful gymnast trying hard to keep her balance on the moving ball. The artist is reflecting not so much on the fate of people in the arts, as on the universal laws of balance and interaction, harmony and contrast. Apollinaire's words about Picasso's painting in 1905: "The colouring has the matt quality of a fresco..." might have been said about the Young Acrobat on a Ball. In 1913 the painting was purchased in Paris by Ivan Morozov.

Pablo Picasso

1881–1973