Diagram showing connecting artworks in the Picasso room, part of Constellations at Tate Liverpool

Constellation of artworks in the Picasso display

In 1912 Picasso began experimenting with the style of art-making that became known as cubism. He started working with collages to provide the fragmented representation of objects, and soon incorporated these elements into oil paintings. Bowl of Fruit, Violin and Bottle is one such work, in which collage elements are simulated in paint and sand is included to make the painting three dimensional.

Pablo Picasso, 'Bowl of Fruit, Violin and Bottle' 1914

Pablo Picasso
Bowl of Fruit, Violin and Bottle 1914
Oil on canvas
unconfirmed: 920 x 730 mm frame: 1279 x 1093 x 63 mm
Lent by the National Gallery 1997© Succession Picasso/DACS 2002

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In its subject matter it is a typical ‘still life’, a genre of painting dating back to the ancient Greeks. The cubist still life retains the ambition of representing reality, but focuses on reflecting our perception rather than creating an illusion of three dimensions through techniques of perspective. Here the three dimensions are presented all at once; for example, the head of the violin is shown from the side, the fingerboard from above, and the body from an angle somewhere between the two.

Rather than offering a static frozen snapshot, the fragmented still life shows objects persisting through time, being viewed at different moments from various viewpoints and existing in a state of flux. Throughout the twentieth century the still life has been developed in this manner, with different approaches to representing temporality and our perception of the commonplace.

Word cloud showing a snapshot of shared characteristics for artworks in the Picasso constellation display at Tate Liverpool

Word cloud showing a snapshot of shared characteristics for artworks in the Picasso constellation display