The Blind Man's Meal

Pablo Picasso Spanish

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 619

One of the most important of Picasso's Blue Period canvases, this work is a remarkable restatement of the Christian sacrament—the ritual of tasting bread and wine to evoke the flesh and blood of Christ—in contemporary terms. Lit with the mystical light of El Greco, the composition derives its strength from its sparse setting and restricted palette.

Picasso described the painting in a letter to his friend the French poet Max Jacob: "I am painting a blind man at the table. He holds a piece of bread in his left hand and with his right hand reaches for a jug of wine. There is a dog nearby that looks at him. I am quite happy with it [although] it is not yet finished."

Technical analysis shows that the dog appeared in an earlier state of the picture, at bottom left, near the plate. Underneath the present composition is another work, a crouching female nude seen in profile.

The Blind Man's Meal, Pablo Picasso (Spanish, Malaga 1881–1973 Mougins, France), Oil on canvas

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