Picasso’s Acrobat Family in focuc: an investigation of materials and techniques of an iconic work in the collection of the Gothenburg Museum of Art

David Buti, Mariateresa Pullano, Eleonora Papa, Eva Nygårds , Loa Ludvigsen, Jørgen Wadum

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The Acrobat Family is one of Pablo Picasso’s highly rated works from his Rose Period. The painting was one of the first two works by the artist acquired by the Stein’s, and in 1922 it came to Gothenburg Art Museum. In catalogues, the materials used for the work are described as a mix of gouache, pastel, watercolour and Indian ink on cardboard; however, the information is often contradictory and inaccurate. An extensive scientific investigation of the painting was carried out to unravel Picasso’s technique, materials and the object’s condition. The results indicate that the cardboard is of an acidic nature and the techniques used by the artist are based on different binding media, possibly oil, wax and polysaccharides. Interesting results have been achieved on the discoloured blue areas, where ultramarine blue and Prussian blue are the main components.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1411
JournalSN Applied Sciences
Issue number2
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Picasso, Pablo
  • Rose Period
  • Cardboard
  • Material characterization
  • Fading
  • Ultramarine blue
  • Prussian blue

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