Picasso’s "Dora Maar Seated"—or, Full Face and Profile: How Do They Show the Self?

I have come to care very much for this painting by Pablo Picasso titled Dora Maar Seated. Dora Maar was a photographer and took photographs of Picasso’s work, including his Guernica. Together she and Picasso studied printing with Man Ray, who, in 1936, took this photograph of her:

Man Ray, Dora Maar

Man Ray uses her black velvet sleeve to bring out the mystery and abstraction in the beautiful face of Dora Maar. Picasso goes even further in his 1937 painting in showing that the world is a part of this woman he cared for.

I have learned from Eli Siegel and Aesthetic Realism that art makes a one of the very opposites that we are trying to put together, and so, Art Answers the Questions of Our Lives. A beginning question in my life that I am learning more about through studying this painting is one Mr. Siegel asked me in an Aesthetic Realism lesson in 1971. Mr. Siegel saw that while I had many interests, I did not feel like an integrity because I felt as people often do, that the person who thought about the world outside myself, the person who had studied anthropology, was not the same as the person who thought about herself. He asked me: “Can we make a coherence out of our attitudes?” I had not thought so. The study of Aesthetic Realism has made it possible for me now to answer Yes we can!...more


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