Picasso Paintings Dora Maar Sitting and Olga Picasso in an Armchair

Pablo Picasso is famous for his weird but unique cubism art, which expresses his rebellious personality and a great talent of seeing things from the new perspective. The majority of his most celebrated paintings have been created in this style, making him the best representative of this extraordinary art movement (Clark, 2013). However, few people know that there are some naturalistic paintings in Picasso’s career as well, in which he depicted people and objects in a more realistic manner. In this essay, I compare and contrast two Picasso’s paintings – Dora Maar Sitting (cubism) and Olga Picasso in an Armchair (naturalism), which seem to have nothing in common at first sight. However, these works have some subtle similarities, which I explore in detail in this paper.

Let me begin with describing the two paintings. Dora Maar Sitting depicts a woman, one of the close friends of the artist, sitting in an armchair (Clark, 2013). She playfully looks at the viewers and seems to smile with both her eyes and her lips. The woman wears the dark dress, which nevertheless does not look boring because of the vibrant colors added to highlight her thin waist and beautiful breast. She lifted one of her hands as if trying to support her head or touch her dark hair, while another hand lies gracefully on the armchair. In general, the woman looks confident and interested, and the bright colors and unusual shapes of this painting give it an unusual look. The second painting also depicts a woman, but this work looks less stunning to me. The woman painted in a realistic manner wears the black dress and looks somewhat bored, which gives the whole painting a rather dull impression (Jiminez & Banham, 2001).

Dora Maar Sitting and Olga Picasso in an Armchair differ much in colors and shapes. The first painting is bright, despite the dark colors prevailing, while the second one almost entirely consists of black and light ochre, with some minor infusions of green, red, and blue. In the first painting, we can see the distinctive Picasso’s style, which consisted in purposefully distorting the real shapes and colors to explore the nature and character of the depicted object or person (Jones, 2003). Picasso’s model has strange fingers and twisted face, yet the artist managed to convey the overall impression perfectly, which is what makes this painting outstanding. The second piece of art is more traditional and appeals to the audience valuing realism more. The shapes and colors are not distorted, so the model’s face is easily recognizable (Woodall, 1997). She looks pale compared to Dora Maar, whose face and hair gleam with different colors.

Surprisingly, there are still some similarities in these two paintings. Both depict women whom Picasso loved at different periods of his life. Both women sit in a chair and wear black dresses, and both have black hair. They both seem to be interesting personalities who managed to influence the great artist’s techniques. For example, it is known that Olga Koklova depicted on the second painting wanted for the portrait to be recognizable, which, among other things, inspired the artist to use a more traditional approach.

To summarize, the selected paintings have both similarities and differences. They both depict women seated, and their hair and posture are quite similar. However, the first painting of Dora Maar is brighter and livelier, in my opinion. This woman attracts attention with her playfulness and unconventional appearance, while Olga’s portrait does not stand out from hundreds of other portraits created in a realistic style. This fundamental difference highlights that Picasso was more inspired by cubism in his technique and artistic vision, and he certainly succeeded more when using this style rather than following the traditional realistic movement.



This compare and contrast essay on Picasso painting explores similarities and differences between the two selected portraits. This is only a sample of a paper that can be used for reference only. To obtain an original, mistake-free paper, place the order on https://essayforever.com. Our competent and skilled writers will do all the hard work for you, while you will enjoy excellent marks.



Clark, T. J. (2013). Picasso and truth: From Cubism to Guernica. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Jiminez, J. B., & Banham, J. (2001). Dictionary of artists’ models. London: Taylor & Francis.

Jones, J. (2003). Portrait of Dora Maar seated, Pablo Picasso (1937). The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2003/may/24/art

Woodall, J. (1997). Portraiture: Facing the subject. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

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