Modern art Essay


Pablo Picasso’s modern art has been famous in the history of art. His artworks display several moods and thus have different histories behind them as well. A particular artwork that caught my interest was the Colombe volant (à l’Arc-en-ciel). Otherwise known as the dove with the flying rainbow, it was painted in the year 1952 by Pablo Picasso. This modern artwork is currently displayed in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and is one of the most popular attractions presented by the museum. Colombe volant (à l’Arc-en-ciel), translated as the dove with the flying rainbow was painted by Pablo Picasso and exhibits one of the well-known themes in his entire artwork during the 1950’s.


Colombe volant (à l’Arc-en-ciel), Pablo Picasso, 1952 [Los Angeles County Museum of Art]

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The painting displays several colors in the form of a rainbow with the dove in the middle signifying peace. The dove has been painted perfectly and beautifully in the plain colors of black and white to display its message. The different colors of rainbow signify that togetherness, to unite and promote brotherhood. It has been painted with fresh original colors and is considered as a lithograph. When seen closely at the end of the painting on the right, one would see Pablo Picasso’s signature along with a date. The dimensions of the plate are 49.53 cm x 64.77 cm. Since we see colors, it is a colorful lithograph. The credit line is stated as the gift of the Austin and Irene Young trust. One can find this art easily under the “prints and drawings” department in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Pablo Picasso made four lithographs during 1952, each of them displaying dove signifying peace. As Daniel Catton Rich states,

“A series of four lithographs, of which this is one, were made for a poster for the 2nd Congress for Peace, to be held in London, November, 1950. (Actually the Congress was held in Sheffield, Picasso attending)” (Rich, 1962).

This lithograph signified peace and the main motive of the painting was to unify all the European countries after the Second World War. Thus, Pablo Picasso’s lithograph grew popular and held a prominent place in the field of art signifying dove as a bird of peace. That is how and why we encounter the paintings of dove on several peaceful messages today and this is the real history behind it. The lithograph above is just one of the artwork of peace he exhibited during 1952. His other words include “Dove Surrounded by linked hand” and “Dove with the ear of corn” (this one, he picked up from the Bible’s story of Noah’s Ark) and several other compositions were made. In other words, they had portrayed a very strong impression of peace. In the year 1952, Pablo Picasso also painted several frescoes of war and peace for an unused chapel at Vallauris (Geiser, xxvii).

The most significant issue in that era was to promote the message of peace and Pablo Picasso’s paintings had signified this theme in his paintings during 1952. The “Dove of Peace” that we see in the symbols of United Nations is actually Picasso’s work that is continuously displayed to promote the message of peace throughout the world. The following lithograph was painted in Spain.

If I were to display three other objects in the gallery, I’d choose a creative painting with a dove in it. The second object would be a sculpture designed in an oval manner in the form of a branch and the third object would be a drawing, like the Pablo Picasso’s “Blue Dove with a Yellow Sun.” The meanings of the objects are very clear- they signify peace but to a greater understanding and probably to the extent that there is a safer place out there to live as long as we cooperate and live together to make one.

The first that is a creative painting with a dove in it will have a series of different colors. The dove is sketched with a background that shows different colors. Here, we have the colors in an oval manner in the background and they hold quite more shades as well. They will have a shade of every color that is present in the color dictionary today. These colors are behind the dove as the dove sits on a branch of a tree. The expression of the dove is peaceful and nonchalant. The dove is absolutely safe and secure and is less worried about her safety. She is glad to be in the place she is in (on the tree branch) as she has nothing to worry about living there. The meaning is very clear to the audience of today- we need to unite, reform and live together in order to achieve peace. Since the September 11 attacks, there has been discrimination and lots of disturbances regarding terrorism. The painting signifies a need for a better place. The colors are a way to show that we need to unite together, form a circle and never to let each go and the dove herself is a symbol of peace and the tree branch she is sitting on can be regarded as our land. The contemporary audience of today truly understands the needs of the current society and therefore, the message is openly exhibited to the audience in this painting.

The second object is a sculpture, an oval shaped, olive branched structure that will be placed in the gallery. In one of Pablo Picasso’s lithographs, there is a dove with an olive branch and hence, the sculpture is inspired by that concept. It would be made of stone, probably marble and engraved on it will be two hands shaking together. The meaning of the sculpture is also quite clear- we need peace and in order to have peace, we need people to join their hands together without any hindrance or thoughts of discrimination in their minds. This idea is also inspired by the statue placed in the Stockholm palace that wears a navy uniform. He has a helm in one hand and the olive branch in the other hand that obviously signified peace in his case as well (Wikipedia, 2007).

Last but not the least; we have a drawing similar to Pablo Picasso’s “Blue Dove with a Yellow Sun.” It would only be a sketch of a dove flying with no colors absolutely and only grey pencil shades on the top of the dove. Nothing needs to be said again. Dove is a bird of peace, a message of peace and an object of peace (in terms of art) so it perfectly fits in the environment that I want to create in the gallery opposite to Pablo Picasso’s lithograph entitled, Colombe volant (à l’Arc-en-ciel) [Dove with a flying rainbow].




Pablo Picasso, Picasso: His Later Works, 1938-1961, ed. Daniel Catton Rich (Worcester, MA: Worcester Art Museum, 1962) 31.

Bernhard Geiser, and Pablo Picasso, Picasso: Fifty-Five Years of His Graphic Work (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1955) xxvii

Skeppsbron.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 12 Apr 2007, UTC. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 30 Apr 2007 <>.