Art historians have revealed that the subject of Picasso’s famous painting Weeping Woman was in fact a woman infected with Cubism. It has generally been thought that the woman depicted in the 1937 oil painting was a fantastical study of his mistress Dora Maar. However, researchers have discovered a diary written by a woman who ended her days in a sanatorium, together with sufferers of Neo-Impressionism and the highly contagious Pointillism.
The diary reveals her relationship with Picasso and the subsequent onset of the condition which forced her into hiding.
Art expert, Rolande Le Grande, who has been researching Picasso’s life and works for the past two decades, said “Cubism had not been totally eradicated by 1937 and new and more virulent strains surfaced from time to time, especially amongst more bohemian sectors of society.”
It is thought that Picasso passed on the infection to the woman, whose identity is yet to be revealed and that he paid for her ‘disappearance’ as his fame grew.
The condition, distantly related to Proteus Syndrome, famously suffered by John Merrick or the Elephant Man, manifested itself in acute angular deformities of the face and body. In some cases victims would suffer an initial blue period before displaying anguish, terror, despair, hysteria and even death. Other symptoms included the desire to dance around naked in public or ‘harlequinism’ a desire to wear bright coloured clothing.
Picasso is alleged to have secretly painted the woman several times in her tortured forms as a personal record of the condition and not for financial gain. Unfortunately the works found their way onto the open market. “It was then that Picasso had the idea to say that they were fantasy images of his mistress Dora Marr so that no one would suspect the truth.” said Mr Le Grande.
Other artists are now coming under scrutiny. The condition known as Impressionism is thought to have affected the eyesight of both Monet and Cézanne, causing a blurring of the iris and leading to shaky representations of reality.