Development of the blue period
Restricting his color scheme to blue, Picasso
and forlorn figures whose body language and clothing bespeak the lowliness of their social status. In The Old Guitarist (1903, Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois), Picasso emphasized the guitarist's poverty and position as a social outcast, which he reinforced by surrounding the figure with a black outline, as if to cut him off from his environment. The guitarist is compressed within the canvas (no room is left in the painting for the guitarist to raise his lowered head), suggesting his helplessness: The guitarist is trapped within the frame just as he is trapped by his poverty. Although Picasso underscored the squalor of his figures during this period, neither their clothing nor their environment conveys a specific time or place. This lack of specificity suggests that Picasso intended to make a general statement about human alienation rather than a particular statement about the lower class in Paris.