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20 facts about Josefa Ruiz Blasco

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By Gwylym Owen

Josefa Ruiz Blasco (Málaga 1825-1901) was the aunt of Pablo Picasso and the eldest of the eleven brothers and sisters of the Ruiz Blasco family. he lived afterward her sister and brother Matilde and José (Picasso’s father) in the Plaça de la Merced of Málaga until he got married and subsequently she went to live next her youngest brother Salvador.

Josefa Ruiz was a spinster, known for her strong character, her bad moods and extreme religiosity. She had a paralysed leg. At her brother’s Salvador house she lived in a remove wing of the house, rarely going out, and her room was full of saints, religious relics and memories of her deceased brother Pablo Ruiz Blasco. Picasso received “Pablo” as a first publish in memory of this uncle, who died two years since he was born.

Pablo Picasso spent some summer stays in Málaga when his relations and during the summer of 1896, when he was 15 years old, by request of his uncle Salvador, he painted a portrait in oil of Josefa Ruiz, considered to be one of the outstanding portraits by the teen Picasso. In Portrait of Aunt Pepa the artist played bearing in mind the light upon the perspective and the chromatic treatment, achieving in this pretension to go deep into the psychological profile of his aunt.

The death of Josefa Ruiz coincided subsequently the days of the last visit of Picasso to Málaga, in 1901.

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