The more you dig, the more interesting Picasso gets. The Spanish artist is full of amazing facts and today’s article is no exception. In his book Einstein, Picasso: Space, Time, and the Beauty That Causes Havoc, author Arthur I. Miller explains why our beloved painter would always carry a revolver loaded with blanks.
Here’s the story.
Throughout his life, Picasso was inspired by the works of Alfred Jarry, the French writer best known for Ubu Roi and for developing the theory of pataphysics. He would often mimic his lifestyle and this included carrying a Browning revolver (Jarry had it loaded with real bullets, Picasso had it filled it with blanks). In fact, it was Jarry’s revolver that Picasso acquired after the writer died in 1907 and he used it to fire at fans who asked about the meaning of his paintings. Miller explains: (the article continues after the ad)
He would fire at admirers inquiring about the meaning of his paintings, his theory of aesthetics, or anyone daring to insult Cézanne’s* memory. Like Jarry, Picasso used his Browning as a pataphysical weapon, in a sense playing Père Ubu au natural, disposing of bourgeois boors, morons and philistines.
For those who don’t know, “Père Ubu” was a character in Ubu Roi. In the play, Ubu has a conversation with his conscience regarding how sciences needed to be inserted into conversations of art. The explanation behind this realization was the fact that Friedrich Nietzsche, the famous German philosopher, had recently declared God dead and therefore, artists needed to fill the epistemological space.
* Paul Cézanne was a French artist and post-impressionist painter who insisted that painting should always stay in touch with its material.