A quotation taken out of its context does not mean much.

Pablo Picasso started his painting career by imitating, stealing if you want as he was supposed to do in his art school (Picasso has always been a communist thinker even before becoming a communists affiliate for whom property is stealing, though he seems to have been very protective towards his own artistic property). But very fast he made artistic choices that moved him into what is no longer imitating, copying or even stealing. In his blue period the subjects are not that original, but the treatment is Picasso’s own because it has never been done.

He will reach beyond stealing when he discovered African and Polynesian arts in Paris and from this vision, with the help of some of the people he met at the time, like Apollinaire, he created “Les demoiselles d’Avignon” which was the first cubist step on the modern art stage of his time.

It could be considered as being copied in a way (“Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe,” painting by Édouard Manet, 1863, for one example) but no one would dare say the painting is not original, what’s more a real overnight revolution in the modern arts of his time.

When Picasso steals a bike saddle and a bike handlebar to create the head of a bull, he is not stealing anything really but creating something new that has meaning: riding a bike is like a bullfight of sorts, and even similar to riding the bull in some American western rodeo, in Cody for example.

A quotation should never be taken out of its context and should always be provided with the date of its utterance.


Written by

Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, PhD in Germanic Linguistics (University Lille III) and ESP Teaching (University Bordeaux II) has been teaching all types of ESP

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