Gallery: Episode 1.3
Picasso, Las Palomas

This print, reminiscent of the print of the dove in Helen's office in Series 1, is a detail of a larger painting, Las Palomas (The Pigeons). Cannes, 12 September 1957. Oil on canvas, 100 x 80cm, Museu Picasso, Barcelona. (The reproduction in the frame-grab from Bad Girls [below] has been flipped.)

The Pigeon series seems to be viewed by critics as a light distraction from Picasso's work on the Meninas. D. Camus, in Barcelona and Paris: two key cities in the life of Picasso, comments:

"The nine canvases entitled Pigeons [...] were painted at the same time as his study of the Meninas. He probably portrayed these views from his balcony simply to have a change from his obsessive work on the Meninas [...]. In the distance is the intensely blue sea, in the foreground are the swirling pigeons performing their incessant ballet [...]. Picasso's luminous palette gives these works an impulsive character that is particularly harmonious and seductive."

Again, as with the Bronzino (ep1.9), only part of the painting is framed here: the two eponymous pigeons. Seen within the context of the whole painting, they anchor it, provide a centerpiece as well as point of view from which our eye travels to the broader vista of the painting, the world outside the window. Decontextualized, without their surrounds, the birds anchor each other—but they have no setting, no view. Helen and Sean spar playfully in this scene ("No one likes a smart arse") but the tension behind the sparring, which expresses the distance between Helen's preoccupation with work and Sean's lack of interest in same, will only widen as the series continues.

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