Back in Paris, after a week in the Vaucluse. We go to the Musee d'Orsay to see one of 3 current Picasso exhibits (the other 2 are at the Louvre and at the Grand Palais--that's the big one, with the killer lines). The Orsay exhibit is about Picasso's fascination with Manet's "Dejeuner sur l'herbe." Sometime in the 1930's Picasso jotted on the back of an envelope: "Quand je vois le dejeuner sur l'herbe de Manet je me dis des douleurs pour plus tard."
So "Dejeuner sur l'herbe"--an extraordinary painting--with its nude woman and dressed men, its opera-set outdoors. Picasso made n paintings of his own on this theme, most of them dated: one day. I wonder why I can't write poems-per-day, dated. Probably because I haven't tried. Secondly, how about n variations on a theme in poetry: n takes on a great poem?
In the end Picasso undresses the men as well. Eliminates one of them. Focuses on a woman picking a flower in the background. In the very last painting, or drawing, or etching (I need to look in the catalogue to see which) the painting-within-the-painting stands on an easel, framed by the artist, much wizened (P was 90 when he did this one), rather wry-looking, and Jacqueline, still splendid.