Data + Design Project

Picasso’s Light Drawings: Still Shining from 1949

Monday 05.14.2012 , Posted by
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When LIFE Magazine photographer Gjon Mili visited Pablo Picasso in the South of France in 1949, the two began work on the captivating images you see here… and it all started quickly. LIFE wrote in its January 30, 1950 issue, in which these images first appeared, “Picasso gave Mili 15 minutes to try one experiment.” The results from the short session must have made a good impression because he worked with Mili on five more.

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Known as Picasso’s “Light Drawings,” the images capture the artist drawing with a small electric light in a darkened room. In his art he was known for his excellent use of the line, using a minimal amount of detail to create highly expressive results… and here he hypnotically demonstrates that talent, drawing his iconic centaurs, people and even signing his name. His figure, in focused concentration, appears in frozen poses behind the drawings, almost as if we could look behind his famous paintings and see the process of their creation. For more on this historical meeting of two artistic talents, see LIFE Magazine.

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Benjamin Starr

Written by Benjamin Starr



Known in some circles as the most amazing man in the universe, he once saved an entire family of muskrats from a sinking, fire engulfed steamboat while recovering from two broken arms relating to a botched no-chute wingsuit landing in North Korea. When not impressing people with his humbling humility, he can be found freelance writing, finding shiny objects on the internet, enjoying the company of much-appreciated friends and living out his nomadic nature. He is Managing Editor of Visual News. Follow his movements on Twitter:

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