Painting with light for children

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He was known for pushing the boundaries of his craft, so when Pablo Picasso was offered to paint with light, he leaped at the chance. In a series known as his ‘light drawings’, the images show the artist waving a strobe light to create figures reminiscent of the screaming cattle in Guernica or the curvaceous woman in The Dreamer. And surprising for the notoriously surly Spanish artist, there is even a glimpse of a smile through the dark, showing the enjoyment he garnered from the project. Mili, a photographer for LIFE magazine, visited Picasso in the south of France, and showed him images he had created by placing lights of the shoes of ice skaters as they jumped through the dark. The artist was instantly taken and began tracing shapes through the air with his finger, hinting at the light doodles to come. Picasso gave Mili 15 minutes to try one experiment,’ LIFE wrote in its January 30, 1950, issue, in which the images were first published. He was so fascinated by the results that he posed for five sessions.

To create the hypnotic effect, Picasso held a small electric light and moved it through a darkened room. Two cameras were used – one to give a side view and another for a front view. By leaving the shutters open, caught the light streaks swirling through space,’ the magazine wrote. The two men produced 30 photographs bearing light drawings including centaurs, bulls and Picasso’s signature. The most famous is known as ‘Picasso draws a centaur in the air’, seen above.

Many of the images were put on display in early 1950 at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. A police car is stationed at the entrance to a park near Mr Osborn-Brooks’ home in south London. Can you imagine if it was two white women? The comments below have not been moderated. We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

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