Poetics: Pentimento


“The Old Guitarist” Pablo Picasso, 1903-04, Art Institute of Chicago
Good evening, poets. It’s Amaya here and tonight we’ll find inspiration in the pentimento. I’m fascinated by this concept, which in art is an alteration to a work as evidenced by traces of a previous work, showing that the artist has changed his/her mind. Below is a famous example of the hidden woman’s face in the bent neck of Pablo Picasso’s ‘The Old Guitarist’.

What is of even more interest than the changes themselves is why we dissect the art so assiduously that perhaps we’re trying to find and contrive answers where none lie, going down a rabbit hole looking for a non-existent meaning in what the artist was concealing. But couldn’t the artist have just changed his/her mind? Can we be fluid and forgiving enough to allow repentance in our rigidly constructed world?

Ours is a world in which…

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*Comme il faut.

Last night trawling the dark
Imaging the owl
Except each was on a seperate mission
The poet within wrote thus.

Peering through the curtains into darkness
Hearing that plaintive cry
Shaking himself from a statuesque pose
You could hear a pin drop
He had his poem
The owl also was successful.
*As it should be.
(c) Chris Black. Februrary 2018.