A print of this painting, Picasso’s “Girl Before a Mirror,” is hanging in my new living room. I don’t usually spend time analyzing art beyond a “that’s pretty” or “that’s ugly.” However this painting gets me thinking in a way no other painting does.
For my blind readers or those of you browsing the web in a text only browser (dear God, do people still do that?) it’s an image of a girl looking at her reflection in a full length oval mirror in a room with pretty garish wallpaper. Seriously, could you live in a room with yellow and red and green wallpaper like that? When we moved once I ended up in a bedroom with pink and white striped wallpaper that made the walls look like they were vibrating. We ripped it down in the first week before I had time to go “The Shining” on my family.
Notably, the girl’s reflection is not the same as the image of herself standing in the room. Here’s where that thinking part I mentioned comes in – why is that? Does she see herself differently than the world sees her? Is she seeing her inner self, the so-called “beauty on the inside?” Or is she unhappy with the way she looks and seeing a distorted, uglier version? Maybe she’s in a funhouse with one of those trick mirrors, which might explain the wallpaper. Or maybe Picasso just ran out of green paint. There are a lot of possibilities to consider and whenever I look at this print I’m reminded of the complexities of self-image.
Anyway, I like it enough that I’m basing my whole living room decorating scheme on it. That and the fact that it contains all the primary and secondary colors, so it’s pretty easy to match a pillow or rug too. Green, purple, red, yellow – all possibilities! This weekend I’m going to dye my curtains to match. We’ll see how badly I can screw that up. Hopefully I won’t end up with a purple cat.