Crucifixion, 1930 by Pablo Picasso
The Crucifixion has no particular religious significance, although its interpretation of pain and suffering is intensely captured and it is a fascinating forerunner, with the use of certain shapes and expressions, to Picasso's most famous work, Guernica (1937).The paradoxical nature of agony, summed up in a moment called 'the Passion', is beautifully explored by his development of modern Expressionism, the movement that distorted reality to express the artist's own inner vision and emotions.
The black and white colouring is used ironically to focus on this moment of passion, which is a sensation usually associated with red, whereas paradoxically violent reds and yellows construct the surrounding scene. The juxtaposition heightens both the artistic and metaphorical paradox. The elaborate amoebic forms also create an abstract feeling, although there remains a level of pictorial representation. It is as though Picasso had reached an aesthetic crossroads and was seeking some spiritual transformation in his work.