In his "blue period" Picasso depicted the world of the poor. "The Old Guitarist," which is an example his work during that time, is one of the most famous yet cheerless images from the twentieth century art world. The image remains as much an enigma today as it did ninety-nine years ago. Upon viewing Picasso's "The Old Guitarist", one immediately notices the subject, the aged musician, and perhaps the muted blue color scheme, but looking further, the viewer realizes several disturbing details. .
First of all, Picasso's intention with this particular work seems to be the conveyance of feelings he has toward the old musician. One has no problem understanding the immediate message Picasso wishes to impart. Immediately the viewer is confronted with a solitary, aged guitarist. The artist chose a guitarist for his subject knowing that this is a solo instrument, and therefore, this musician spends his time playing it without accompaniment. There is nothing to suggest that this guitarist is playing to an audience. This is a scene played out with every musician during the uncounted hours of practice. These hours spent in practice make up the vast majority of the time the musician spends with his instrument alone. Looking at this painting, it appears as though this time spent alone with only his guitar is all that the poor, old man has left in the world. .
Subsequently, Picasso has chosen to alter the colors of the subject to perhaps hint at the mood of the musician. Blues and grays are colors seen more at night or in moonlight suggesting the end of something, say perhaps the old man's life. Grayed colors usually make viewers feel nostalgic or sentimental and convey feelings of longings for better times. Picasso has used these colors effectively to give the viewer the idea that the musician is deep in thought. Finally, the gloomy colors may have also been used to point out a handicap of the old man.