Artists in The Old Guitarist’ and ‘In the Oak Groove’


Many famous artists thrived during the twentieth century and their works are still viewed up-to-date. The artists produced various paintings depicting different images. Two notable artists at the time were Guy Rose and Pablo Picasso who lived in different part of the world. They came up with paintings that showed some of the issues taking place in the society as well as how people expressed themselves during their time (Lawson 32). In this case, their paintings were unique and at the same time had some similarities. This paper seeks to give a critical analysis as well as a comparison of the ‘The Old Guitarist’ by Pablo Picasso and ‘In the Oak Grove’ by Guy Rose.

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In the year 1903, Pablo Picasso painted ‘The Old Guitarist’ immediately after his close friend, Casegemas, committed suicide. At the time, Picasso was extremely sympathetic to the problems facing the downtrodden and poor people. Consequently, he started painting numerous canvases that had depictions of the ill as well as those people who were miserable. Furthermore, he had paintings of the society’s banished or castaway people. Picasso had also experienced the life of being penniless and impoverished in the year 1902 (Lawson 105). ‘The Old Guitarist’ was produced in Madrid and its distorted style is in fact a reminiscent of El Greco’s works. When viewing the painting, it is quite visible that the old man’s upper torso is reclining. In addition, his bottom half seems to have been seated cross-legged.

The sightless and bent man has closely held to him a large and round guitar. The brown body is a representation of how color shifting applies in the painting. Both symbolically and physically, the guitar has filled the space that exists around the visible solitary figure. The man seems to be quite oblivious to his poverty and blindness while playing the guitar. During the actual painting, some members of the Symbolist Movement were blind, and it was claimed that they had inner vision. The blind musician has a skeleton like thin figure and is claimed to have some roots in Spain, which was the native country of Picasso. The man has an angular posture that is cramped in addition to his elongated limbs (Lawson 238).

In the painting, is its quite evident that Picasso wanted people to believe that art has the truth to almost everything in this world. ‘The Old Guitarist’ when viewed quite closely, has the image of a mysterious and ghostly figure, which appears underneath. It seems that Picasso wanted to show that during the time, spirits haunted some people and this is what made their lives become quite miserable (Lawson 239). In addition, it is assumed that when Picasso started work on the painting, he wanted to come up with a portrait of a woman. She was to be seated and depict a worried and upset mood. However, there is no much visibility of this woman’s features except her legs and face.

Other artists often refer to Guy Rose as being the Californian Impressionist. He was born in the year 1867 and died in the year 1925, and he contributed tremendously to art. He is actually recognized as a leading artist that existed in the early twentieth and nineteenth century. The work he did had a unique use of vivid color as was often seen on the work of famous French Impressionists. Rose is especially acclaimed for the painting known as ‘In the Oak Grove’ because it has attracted the attention of many people globally (Lawson 421).

The painting by Rose shows a woman seated on an oak grove while dressed in the attire that women her age wore during that time. He has used the colors in a commendable way that enables the person viewing the painting to know the season it was developed. Furthermore, the color blue has been used to show and emphasize the impression that the artist wants to be known. The blue color overshadows the green leaves in the background. Since Rose was from California, he was used to seeing the blue color of the waters found in the beach, therefore, fell in love with this serene environment. Therefore, he frequently used the color in his paintings as a way of paying homage to his beautiful hometown (Lawson 426). The woman in the painting has apparently come to the isolated oak grove area as a way of escaping from people who seem to bother her. She might even be waiting for her lover to come so that they can be alone without being caught or even anyone interfering with their peace. The woman seems quite content with the surrounding as seen from her facial expression. It is by providing such details that Rose was a famous impressionist artist.

The artworks by the two artists focused on different themes such as sadness and poverty by Picasso, while Rose mostly focused on natural elements. Picasso’s work dates to the Blue period when there were many women with sad faces and beggars. He wanted the world to know about the misery that had befallen women who were quite vulnerable. Rose’s artwork was based on impressionism, whereby he wanted to depict the changing qualities of light using thin and small brushes. The purpose of looking at such paintings was to ensure that people used their experiences and perception to interpret the image in the painting. The two artists were similar in their artworks as they both used the color blue to emphasize some elements in the paintings. Furthermore, they chose to use women in different ways in their paintings. In Rose’s painting, the woman is on the forefront showing that women were accorded status in the society. On the contrary, the woman in Picasso’s painting can hardly be seen as women had no value and were mistreated during the Blue period. It is evident that the two artworks expressed the concerns and opinion of the artists concerning what they thought was taking place (Lawson 490).


The artworks by Pablo Picasso and Guy Rose have had an impact on people interested in art. The paintings have proven that during the twentieth century, there were many radical changes being made in society and they affected people differently. Therefore, the artists used their talents to come up with unique paintings that were based on impressionism and the Blue period. Indeed, the ‘In the Oak Grove’ and ‘The Old Guitarist’ are exceptional artworks, which deserve the recognition they have.


Works Cited

Lawson, S. The 20th Century Art Book. New York: Phaidon Press, 1999. Print.




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