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Few artistic moments are as instantly recognisable as Pablo Picasso's Blue Period, and from it La Vie (Life) has emerged as the culminating masterpiece. This book not only examines 'La Vie's' history and physical structure in unprecedented detail but also uses the painting as the touchstone for exploring a broad array of issues vital to modernist culture of the 19th and 20th centuries. Picasso and the Mysteries of Life uses new scientific studies of 'La Vie' to examine the artist's working method and the painting's enigmatic subject. Author William H. Robinson reconstructs the relationship between the painting's complex symbolism and the process of its creation, and in so doing breaks new ground in understanding the sources of Picasso's fertile imagination and his relationship to contemporary artists. La Vie emerges as a pivotal turning point in Picasso's development into the most innovative and influential painter of our time.