The twenties of the 20th century were the heyday and the maximum creative activity of the splendid Spanish artist Picasso. The triple portrait of "musicians", which exemplifies the Synthetic Cubist style, is one of the most famous paintings of this period. The master was fascinated by the characters of the Italian folk comedy, the famous masks "del Arte".
Three images, three characters, three components of a single creative organism. Fun and reckless Harlequin, lyrical and thoughtful Pierrot, sly and two-faced Monk - all three are favorite characters of folk comedy. On stage, they are always rivals, whereas in the picture they are friends, musicians who create a common "melody" of the work, its artistic sound.
The greatest friends of Pablo are immortalized here: the poet and critic Guillaume Apollinaire (Pierrot) and the poet Max Jacob (monk), who retired from the world, becoming a monk. The artist himself presented himself in the image of Harlequin. The masks do not hide the appearance of the characters, they symbolize their unrevealedness to the public, their belonging to the future rather than the present.
"Three Musicians" can be regarded as a monument to his close friends and bohemian youth, farewell to what will not return. The unusual texture, amazing images create unique dynamics, and it seems that you can catch the sounds of the winding jazz flowing from the canvas.
The aesthetics of the picture is complex and ambiguous. It was difficult for the master to adhere to traditions, creating images of three, so non-traditional personalities. Therefore, the artist chooses an ambiguous technique of combinations of color spots, breaks the perspective, concentrates the viewer's attention on the internal consonance of the characters, with an absolute external difference.
The technique of execution is striking - three different figures are depicted in the same space, and it is difficult to get rid of the impression, that not only they are created separately, but also seem to be glued to the canvas. Another amazing feature is that the figures, made in the style of cubism, do not lose volume.
After the presentation of the work to the audience, the pictures were lauded with compliments. So, Maurice Raynal argued that the work of Picasso is "a masterpiece of intelligence and grace," and also defined it as a kind of successful result of all artistic searches within the framework of cubism, perfectly demonstrating all the strength, wide range of faces and revelations of this style.The picture was painted very quickly, in just three days, while on holiday in Fontainebleau. Art historians believe that the work was a kind of final farewell to Apollinaire, who died shortly before this. The artist immortalized the friendship of three avant-gardists, two poets, and one artist, united by a common search for new ways in art.
There are two versions of "Three Musicians". A more complete work is now in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the other is found in the Museum of Art in Philadelphia.