Sub Rosa

When Picasso was 24 years old, he painted Garçon à la pipe, (detail shown) quite an ambiguous painting that became part of his Rose Period, during which his relationships and experiences in Paris prompted him to use warmer reds, oranges, and pinks. His delicate and somewhat unreadable expression stands out from the messy brushstrokes of the rose bouquets around him. Judge for yourself if it is worth the $104 million it sold in auction.

Since antiquity, the term “Sub Rosa” has been associated with keeping things secret. During long banquets in ancient Rome, when the wine and conversation were flowing, painted roses on the ceiling reminded guests that wild rumors and threads of conversation should only survive the night.

Wild rose scarf • Rose petal jam

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Dried Roses TankGarçon à la Pipe (Boy with a Pipe) by Pablo Picasso

Rose photos from The Huntington Botanical Gardens and Brooklyn Botanic Garden