Listening to Art

10.02: Pablo Picasso, Mother and Child by the Sea

Download (MP3).

Listening to Art, by William Denton.

Volume ten, number two: Mother and Child by the Sea by Pablo Picasso.

Hello, and welcome to Listening to Art. I’m William Denton.

This painting, made in 1902 during Picasso’s Blue Period, is also known as Woman by the Sea, for example in John Richardson’s biography, from which I quote (p. 238):

The bluer Picasso’s paintings become, the more they are permeated by the sea. Picasso had grown up in a succession of seaports, and when he lived in Barcelona he liked to prowl the beach of Barceloneta, behind the harbor, where the homeless subjects of his work were to be found; or he would go on expeditions up and down the coast with Pichot in his boat, or to the family’s beach house at Cadaquès, or in Ramon’s shack at Punt del Sortell. Picasso had a way of using the sea to amplify the mood of a subject: in these early years to enhance the melancholy; later, to very different ends. On his honeymoon of 1918 the beach stands for joie de vivre; in the late twenties and thirties it becomes an arena for sexual acts of Dionysian intensity; and, in the late forties, a place for classic idylls. For Picasso of the Blue period, beaches had the advantages of no specific associations; they were outside time and place—a blue limbo.

This is a painting, oil on canvas, 59.8 cm wide by 81.7 cm high.

Now let’s listen to Mother and Child by the Sea by Pablo Picasso, recorded while on tour from the Pola Museum of Art in Japan at the Art Gallery of Ontario, in Toronto, on 15 October 2021.

Waveform of the field recording.

That was Mother and Child by the Sea by Pablo Picasso. I hope you enjoyed listening to it as much as I did.

For more information and links to things I’ve mentioned, please visit

Listening to Art is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


All web sites accessed as of date of publication.

Pola Museum of Art. “Pablo Picasso.” Pola Museum of Art.

Richardson, John. A Life of Picasso: Volume 1, 1881–1906. With the collaboration of Marilyn McCully. New York: Random House, 1991.

Wikipedia, s.v. “Pablo Picasso,”

⸻, s.v. “Picasso’s Blue Period,”'s_Blue_Period.