Picasso is not the only one who has adopted the color blue to express sadness; Many painters expressed their grief and their desire to commit suicide through the color blue.
The pioneer of the cubist school, Pablo Picasso, lived in a state of severe clinical depression during his stay in Paris in 1901, and the cause of that psychological ordeal was the suicide of his close friend Carlos Casigmas – an art student with whom his girlfriend refused to marry. It was later called the “blue period”.
It is one of the richest periods in Picasso’s life, as he produced dozens of paintings that express the torment and pain that surrounds the entire human existence. These paintings, along with their bleak themes, were dominated by the color blue. For this reason, it was called blue.
The “blue period” began in AD 1901, and “The Tragedy”, “La Vie” and many other Picasso paintings were produced during this period. All of these paintings revolved around philosophical themes and complex existential questions about love, life, death, loneliness and fear. So why the color blue?
Picasso is not the only one who has adopted the color blue to express sadness; Many painters expressed their grief and their desire to commit suicide through the color blue. One of the most prominent of these is the famous impressionist Vincent van Gogh, whose iconic painting, Starry Night, contained a suicide letter; The painting is dominated by blue and some yellow for the stars, and cypress trees (burial trees) that reach the height of the stars are interspersed with it.
“Nothing can carry us: neither the road nor the house. Was this road the way it was from the beginning, (…) and what are we going to do?” – Mahmoud Darwish
The Norwegian painter Edvard Munch (1863-1944), who – like Vincent van Gogh – was known for his long struggle with mental and psychological illnesses. During his long artistic career, he presented many blue paintings, all of which were characterized by very sad and melancholy themes, such as: loneliness, disease, death and separation.
His “Self-Portrait with a Cigarette” – painted in 1895 – is one of his most famous blue paintings. The painting relies on the liberal style of painting that Monk invented to express inner psychological experiences without adherence or constraint to the academic rules of painting, preferring subjectivity to realism and naturalism.
Monk appears in the painting with a very dark appearance and is covered in blue. Through the painting, we can follow Monk’s search for a new pictorial language through which he expresses his sadness and depression after entering several psychiatric clinics without his condition improving or stabilizing. He ended up filming his desperation in a blue manner.
“He uses colors to evoke an atmosphere of spirituality and inspiration. He presents himself as a representative of a new art that does not imitate reality, but establishes an authentic reality specific to the image itself” (Museum of Modern Art, Stockholm).
Monk’s Desperation, painted in 1892, appears as a precursor to his iconic painting The Scream in which Monk stands on the same bridge, as shown in The Scream, in the Christiana district of Stockholm, hearing the screams of several women jostling the horizon from a sanatorium. Psychological close to the place.
Monk wrote in his memoirs in Nice, “January 22, 1892, I was walking along the road with two friends, the sun was setting, I felt a gasp of sadness. Suddenly the sky turned red, I swerved toward the railing and stood up. I felt terribly tired looking through the clouds The fiery dangling like blood and sword over the fjord and the deep blue city. My friends continued the walk, but I stood there trembling with anxiety, and I felt a great and infinite scream in nature.”
The geography of the soul
Psychiatrist Kendra Cherry believes that the color blue is so popular in expressing the most complex feelings, mainly because of its prevalence in nature, “The raging sea is very blue, and the dark night is very blue, as well as the cloudy sky and so on. Man draws his expressions Usually from the environment around him and usually nature is the biggest inspiration.”
It was natural for the blue to turn with all its spirituality to be in its different degrees – light and dark – an expression of human happy and sad states.
Theologian and art editor Ann Conway-Jones agrees with Sherry, who sees blue as a heavenly color with an aura of holiness. And that its spread in many international paintings as a means of expressing excessive sadness comes from being a voice through which the painter can talk to the sky.