'"The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls."
Sometimes I find it difficult to believe such a profound quote came from Picasso - I sometimes think it is not helpful to know so much about the personal life of artists! But that’s my own prejudice…..
Picasso was able to be so diverse in his work - many had a great sadness or harshness about them, yet others are gentle and touching, and still others display great depth and insight.
Girl before a Mirror is of just one of Picasso’s lovers, Marie-Therese Walter, and while this work shows us a nude, to me it doesn’t feel overtly sexual at all. Instead it is the multiple versions of the girl that I am drawn to. We see at least 3 versions of her face and 2 of her body. The body looking into the mirror seems to have a beautiful softness about it - not just in shape (is she pregnant? maybe but maybe not) but in the eye that views her. Her body is seen softly, gently. Yet 2 of her faces are quite different, especially the one in the mirror which may seem to point towards impending age, sadness, or maybe even death.
Whatever it is that we see in this painting, we must take the time to really look at it and by doing so, some of the dust of daily life can be washed from our souls simply because we have stopped to reflect and consider life. To take time to stop, to really look, to take the time to consider, to observe, all place us outside of the regular-ness of the day to day. It gives us time, space, and a moment to hear the voices within us and I think this is what Picasso was talking about.