Picasso’s portrait

1001 Tales told by the Master Discourses

“He does not paint for any purpose. Painting is his dance with colors,” says Osho.

Picasso Painting of a woman

The moment you drop the whole process of asking the meaning of things, everything is perfectly beautiful in its absolute absurdity.

A very rich woman asked Pablo Picasso, “I have never seen a portrait made by you and I am ready to pay any amount you ask. I want my portrait to be painted by you.”

Picasso said, ”I have not painted portraits because then I will have to answer so many questions for which I don’t have any answer. If you promise me that you won’t ask any question after the portrait is made, and simply give me the check, then I can do a portrait for you. This will be my first and last portrait.”

The woman was very proud, having the only portrait by Pablo Picasso in the whole world. She was ready to pay any amount and she said, ”You need not be worried about the check; I will give it to you in advance and I promise not to ask any question.” Ten million dollars, and the woman gave him the check immediately.

Pablo Picasso painted her portrait for almost a whole week, every day a two or three-hour session, and the woman forgot the condition. In fact anybody would have forgotten the condition, seeing the situation of the portrait. She could not find any relationship either to her face or to her clothes or to her body, and the man was painting madly.

But she must have been a very controlled and disciplined woman. She waited… at least let him finish first.

The seventh day he said, ”The portrait is complete.”

The woman said, ”I have just a very small question.”

Pablo Picasso said, ”You have forgotten the condition! That’s why I never made any portrait. What is your question?”

She said, ”It is not a big question. I simply want to know, where is my nose? Because if I can find my nose in the portrait, I will start figuring out where are my eyes, where is my mouth. But I don’t see my nose anywhere.”

Picasso simply returned the check and he said, ”You get out of my house. I had made it clear from the very beginning. Why should I paint your nose? What purpose is the nose going to serve in the portrait? The portrait is not going to breathe.”

Never again in his life was he asked for a portrait.

It was good – he could go on doing any kind of painting; at least if he is painting the clouds you cannot ask him stupid questions like ”Where is the nose of the cloud?”

I am in absolute agreement with Pablo Picasso. He was one of the most existential geniuses mankind has produced. He does not paint for any purpose. Painting is his dance with colors. Painting is his joy expressed with colors. You never ask when you see the sunset and the beautiful colors on the horizon – Picasso’s paintings belong to the same category. They are immensely beautiful but absolutely irrational. Existence is irrational, it is not Pablo Picasso’s fault.

Osho, Om Mani Padme HumThe Sound of Silence, the Diamond in the Lotus, Ch 15, Q 1 (excerpt)

Series compiled by Shanti
All excerpts of this series can be found in: 1001 Tales

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