Pablo Picasso 'painting' with light, France, 1949. Photo: Gjon Mili

One bright spark: Hypnotic photographs capture Pablo Picasso 'painting' with light

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LIFE With Picasso: Genius at Work and at Play, 1948-1967

LIFE Behind the Picture: Picasso 'Draws' With Light Not originally published in LIFE. "By setting off a strobe light, [Mili] caught Picasso's intense, agile figure as it flailed away at the drawings," LIFE wrote.

Las pinturas hechas con luz de Pablo Picasso

Las pinturas hechas con luz de Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso light-drawing with a flashlight, Photograph by Gjon Mili/Time & Life Pictures

picasso uses light pen

Profile of a Curatorial Master: Yolanda Cuomo

Las desconocidas pinturas de luz de Pablo Picasso

Las desconocidas pinturas de luz de Pablo Picasso

In 1949, Pablo Picasso collaborated with photographer Gjon Mili to produce a series of 'light paintings'. For five sessions in darkened rooms, a 67 year old Picasso drew hypnotic figures of centaurs, elephants, the female body and more, each image vanishing as it was being formed.

Back in 1949 a photographer for LIFE magazine by the name of Gjon Mili had taken some rarely seen shots of Pablo Picasso light painting.


Pablo Picasso "draws" a centaur in the air with light, LIFE magazine’s Gjon Mili, a technical prodigy and lighting innovator, visited the artist in the South of France to photograph Picasso creating his "light drawings.


It would be very curious to record by means of photographs, not the stage of the picture, but its metamorphoses - Light Drawings — photographs of Pablo Picasso by Gjon Mili, 1949

Brassaï. L'atelier di Picasso, Rue des Grands Augustins, con il suo cane Kazbec. 1944

L’Atelier de Picasso [Picasso’s Studio] Rue des Grands-Augustins, Paris May 1944 From Brassaï, Paris. Picasso's Dog from Stella McLeod