Part 2 – Learning from Tradition: Appropriation and the Visual Dialogue

Picasso was a major 20th Century artist who both loved and rivaled previous artists and art.  This led to visual manipulations of subjects, themes and styles of artists in history that can be seen as “visual conversations”, through appropriation, manipulation, and imagination. Almost all of his work is a tribute, homage, or commentary on other art. The articles below discuss this aspect of his work.

Picasso addressed Manet in a number of “conversations.” (You will also see works by other artists and even advertisers joining in the conversation.)

Picasso addressed Velasquez,in a number of “conversations.”

You might also look up Picasso and Goya, or Goya and Oliveira, a California artist from the last 20th Century.

The article below also considers the visual connections artists make through appropriation, emulation, and “visual conversations or conversions.”

Here is an in depth article on Leon Kossoff’s visual conversation and thoughtful engagement with Poussin.


Although your visual dialogue will be with a work from 1800 onward, Alfred Leslie is a late 20th c artist who reaches back to Caravaggio for inspiration and creates a visual dialogue in the Killing Cycle paintings:‘alfred-leslie-the-killing-cycle’-art-shepherd-express.html

(Skip ahead to 2:19 in the video for the work like Caravaggio.  Also, google Caravaggio’s The Conversion of St. Paul for comparison.)

And, the following interview enumerates his multiple sources and inspirations:

Here are 10 artworks inspired by other artworks that may give you some inspiration. Notice that those are more derivative are less of a “conversation” and more of an homage:

You may also want to research Van Gogh, Millet, and Hiroshige; Larry Rivers and Washington Crosing the Delaware, the Dutch Masters, and the Last Civil War Veteran; and Robert Collescot’s work. Examples abound.


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