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Table of Contents
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 66-67  

Despair and Hope

Heart Hospital, Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar

Date of Web Publication21-Jun-2017

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


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How to cite this article:
Hajar R. Despair and Hope. Heart Views 2017;18:66-7

How to cite this URL:
Hajar R. Despair and Hope. Heart Views [serial online] 2017 [cited 2022 Dec 5];18:66-7. Available from: https://www.heartviews.org/text.asp?2017/18/2/66/208671

Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not.”

Pablo Picasso

In illness, despair and hope are frequently entwined. The painting of Picasso, Mere et Enfant (Mother and Child), encompasses both concepts. It was painted during his Blue Period when he painted essentially monochromatic paintings in shades of blue and blue-green, only occasionally warmed by other colors. The Blue Period was ushered in by the suicide of Picasso's closest friend.

The painting was created after Picasso visited the women's prison of Saint-Lazare in Paris, France. The painting conveys a sense of overall despair. Blue is a fitting color. Many of the inmates were ex-prostitutes suffering from venereal diseases – and there were children in the prison which particularly disturbed the artist. Those analyzing the painting know the miserable mother portrayed was an inmate of Saint-Lazare prison by her white bonnet. Onlookers do not of course appreciate the squalor and poverty of the surroundings; however, when talking about it, the artists and writers allude to its dreary and depressing environment. Its gloominess even appeared in the lyrics of popular songs sung in the Cafes and Cabarets of Montmartre. Picasso has allowed a sense of hope to permeate his work through allusion to theme of Madonna and Child (a christian religious representation of Mary and Jesus; Italian ma donna, meaning “my lady”). By representing the mother (a prostitute) in the pose of the Madonna, he is conveying resignation of all earthly joys. The infant on her lap symbolizes hope.


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