Pablo Picasso, The Blind Man's Meal, 1903. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
This painting g l o w s from certain view angles - if you have a chance to see it, be sure to explore the viewing possibilities. I also love it for its ultimate humane attitude - poor and disabled, this human being is portrayed with such a monumental dignity. The works of the Blue and Rose periods were Picasso's ultimate achievements, as far as I'm concerned. What about his cubist breakthrough you may ask? Well, that's where it gets tricky. I believe cubism is THE artistic development of the 20th century that re-defined the art, as well as the ways we look at it (for it was through the cubist perspectives that many "older" masters were reconsidered, especially Cezanne). However, in Picasso's personal oeuvre the cubist works are not the strongest - Blue & Rose are. Yet in the larger Modernist context it is Cubism that counts, not Picasso's melancholic beggars and acrobats. Universal vs. particular. A major trend vs. a specific period in the artist's oeuvre. Such dichotomy is the key to Picasso's genius - both universal and particular, he first defined himself as an artist (Blue and Rose), and later defined the ART of his era in itself (Cubism). We love to bitch about his weaker works (of which there are plenty), but in my opinion Picasso was, and still is in many ways, a major driving force of the artistic modernity.