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Oedipus According to numerous Picasso biographies when Picasso was about thirteen years old his father a passionate amateur painter gave him his paintbrushes and ceased painting altogether This appears to have taken on great psychological significance later in Picassos life for he equated it with patricide a killing of his fathers creativity The paintbrush was to become an important symbol that Picasso identified with his own creative powers and masculinity Picasso recognised the symbolic connection between this event in his early life and the Oedipus complex of Sigmund Freud He then adopted Oedipus as a secretive alter ego because the story provided a wealth of symbolic associations that Picasso already identified with in his art Oedipus had been a popular theme amongst the Surrealists and others around Picasso in the 1920s Picasso appears to have embraced the theme at around that time this is apparent in a drawing he made on the subject in 1926 In Sophocles play Oedipus is exposed as a baby boy by his father the king of Thebes The king did this to prevent the unfolding of a prophecy that he would die at the hands of his son Oedipus feet were pieced by a piece of wood and he was hung in a tree and left to die but was rescued and bought up by shepherds Picasso already identified with Crucifixion and so the Crucifixion aspect of the story reinforced his identification with Oedipus Picassos identification with Oedipus was strengthened still further because as soon as Oedipus realises that he has unwittingly killed his father and married his mother he blinds himself and goes into self imposed exile Blindness was an important theme for Picasso he once stated that painting was a blind mans profession Themes of blindness emerged early in his pictures and recurred many times Associated with soothsaying and prophecy blindness had personal connotations for Picasso for he was believed by some of his close
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