Recommended by Hettie Duncan (Education & Outreach Coordinator)

  • THE HEAD OF A WOMAN
  • Pablo Picasso, 1960
  • Oil on canvas, 65.1 x 54 cm

Picasso met his wife Jacqueline Roque (1927-1986) in 1952 and she became the muse for many of his works. He noted her distinctive features: high cheekbones, big eyes, dark straight hair in several of his works in a variety of styles.

According to the Met, ‘Head of a Woman’ appears to be the culmination of a series of ten wash drawings made on 12 November 1960. They, in turn, derive from several paintings from 1949 of Picasso’s former mistress, Françoise Gilot. This image sees the amalgamation of these two muses.

A print of a Picasso was in my flat when I moved in, and every morning walking down the stairs I am presented with his work. This image, for me, is very interesting: at a glance it could just be an abstract portrait of a woman, but as you gaze at it, two faces appear and are locked together.