The Self Portraits Of Gertrude Stein And — страница 2

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them is not real and that is why there are skyscrapers and American literature and Spanish painting and literature (18). This perfectly sets the stage for her double feature. In her descriptions of his cubist movement, Stein describes her forging of a new style of writing; in her explanations of his simple shapes and figures, Stein reveals her relaxed, stream-of-consciousness style. Now her audacious attempts at interpreting Picasso s behavior are not so brazen at all, for she is describing herself as well; she and Picasso are the same. Stein is able to comprehend Picasso s motivation in painting, . . . he is a man who always has a need of emptying himself, of completely emptying himself, it is necessary that he should be greatly stimulated so that he could be active enough to

empty himself completely. This is the way he lived his life (5). She sees through his eyes, she thinks with his thoughts; they are one. Stein even warns her reader of the reflections found within her book. She writes on the first pages of her biography , The painter does not conceive himself as existing in himself, he conceives himself as a reflection of the objects he has put into his pictures and he lives in the reflections of his pictures, a writer, a serious writer, conceives himself as existing by and in himself, he does not at all live in the reflection of his books, to write he must first of all exist in himself, but for a painter to be able to paint, the painting must first of all be done, therefore the egotism of a painter is not at all the egotism of a writer, and this

is why Picasso who was a man who only expressed himself in painting had only writers as friends. (4) Here, the reader is told exactly how Stein views herself. The common definition of a writer being a person who writes is void. To herself, Stein is not a writer at all; she is a painter. Though she does write, she is an artist who paints pictures a painter. Therefore, she conceives herself as a reflection of her writings. This is how Stein is able to excel in creating an autobiographical biography. Picasso was rather daring in his decision to paint Stein s portrait in her absence, even after ninety sittings with her. He told her, I can t see you any longer when I look, and left after painting out a head that was soon replaced with the mask-like visage of the finished portrait. And

even after such hard work as Picasso put into his portrait, many often commented that the portrait did not remotely resemble Stein. Being that Picasso is a painter, Picasso s portrait of Gertrude Stein is really a reflection of himself. In his portrait, Picasso gave Stein a strange, mask-like face, with prominent eyes, a sharply angled nose, a straight, uncompromising mouth. The portrait became a stunning transitional work, lingering at the end of his Rose period of harlequins and circus subjects. With its brown and somber coloring, its tawny hints of rose in the flesh colors and in the background, the painting resembled the autumn of that style. (Mellow 93) When approached in a literal sense, it is not difficult to find a resemblance between the mask-like countenance in the

portrait and Picasso s own face. The face in the portrait is strikingly masculine in its features, yet with extreme softness. Picasso s own mouth and nose are almost identical to the pair in his portrait. They share the same dimple in the upper lip and smile impressions. The hair and ears are shaped rather similarly and their build is of the same size. With cubism, the need for framing becomes obsolete. In Picasso, Stein writes, . . . the framing of life, the need that a picture exist in its frame, remain in its frame was over. A picture remaining in its frame was a thing that always had existed and now pictures commenced to want to leave their frames and this also created the necessity for cubism (12). Picasso gives his subject her own frame of reference, rather than limiting

her existence to what can be seen straight ahead. Thus, she is no longer a subject merely to be looked at, but another living creature, with thoughts that are evident. There is a world outside the four edges of the canvas, and her gaze proves this. The perspective of the picture also reflects Picasso s way of seeing things. Stein writes, The things that Picasso could see were the things which had their own reality, reality not of things seen but of things that exist (19). In the portrait, Stein stares off at some mysterious sight, either wondrous or horrifying, not into the eyes of the viewer. With this, Picasso creates a reality for his subject of things that exist outside the frame of the portrait. The message is found not in what is seen, but in the reality of the unseen.