“A Mother and Child and Four Studies of Her Right Hand” is a sketch, drawn on tan wove paper, in black crayon and ink.
Picasso drew this mother and child study in 1904, during a time in which he was moving away from sombre subjects, which typified his Blue Period, to the brighter tones and style of his Rose Period.
The picture depicts a mother with her baby; the child’s right hand is reaching up to touch her face. The mother’s right shoulder is much longer, than the left, and contorted as she cradles her infant. She is gazing, lovingly, at the child.
The most striking feature of the work is the repeated images of the mother’s right hand. Aside from the actual drawing of her hand, there are four other renderings. Picasso appears to be showing the attempts he made, at depicting the hand, before deciding upon the final image. Three are very similar, while the fourth, at the bottom of the picture, has an animal-like quality.
A preliminary sketch, of the mother’s head and shoulders, appears in the top right corner of the drawing. This adds to the impression that this is a work in progress and not the finished article.
The subjects of a mother and child appear frequently in Picasso’s work, throughout the artistic periods in his life, painted in a variety of different styles. In many instances, the pose, of the mother cradling her baby is very similar to this drawing.
Picasso is probably most famous for the striking images produced during his Cubist and Surrealist periods, this drawing, one of his earlier works, is a reminder that Picasso could create beautiful artwork in a classical style.