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Image of Construction with Swallows 13056


Pablo Picasso (Málaga, Spain, 10/25/1881 - 4/8/1973, Mougins, France)


Construction with Swallows

Creation Date



early 20th century


10 1/8 in. x 12 7/8 in. (25.72 cm x 32.7 cm)

Object Type


Creation Place

Europe, Spain

Medium and Support

India ink , (pen ?) and (charcoal ?) on paper

Credit Line

Bequest of William H. Alexander, in memory of his friend, Howard Hoyt Shiras, M.D.


This artwork may be under copyright. For further information, please consult the Museum’s Copyright Terms and Conditions.

Accession Number

This drawing is the last in a series inspired by the artist’s mistress, Marie-Therese Walter. The head appears as a surreal construction: the nose projects from the woman’s gaping mouth, which is lined with teeth. Here, the eyes appear on their own stalk-like supports, which sprout from the spinal cord; the arms and the features of the woman’s body have been simplified with principally curvilinear strokes of ink. Picasso introduced swallows into the composition in only the last three drawings of the series. Curiously, the woman holds a tiny, round mirror in her right hand, which catches a reflection of the swallows. To reinforce the connection, Picasso drew lines across the nude to the birds above. This not only serves a compositional purpose, but also is a poetic means of linking the world of the interior and the inner life of the figure with what lies beyond.

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