Bust of a Man

Artist: Pablo Picasso (Spanish, Malaga 1881–1973 Mougins, France)

Date: 1908

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 24 1/2 x 17 1/8 in. (62.2 x 43.5 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Bequest of Florene M. Schoenborn, 1995

Accession Number: 1996.403.5

Rights and Reproduction: © 2017 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


Picasso's rough-hewn rendering of a man's head combines aspects of African and Iberian art which had first impacted his work a year or two earlier. Reduced to a few simple shapes and large masses, the head has a masklike appearance. The highly stylized lozenge-shaped eyes and mouth are dark open voids that could have been copied from the stone and bronze Iberian sculptures that Picasso saw in Gósol and the Louvre, or from the wooden African masks in the Musée d'Ethnographie du Trocadéro and in private collections, but most likely were a synthesis of both sources.