Last But Not Least
The human lifespan might be limited, but true art transcends time. Famous artists devote their lives to honing their craft. But as the end draws near, do their final works convey their dread of death or celebrate life? 毕加索 Pablo Ruiz Picasso 1881－1973 西班牙天才画家、立体派创始人毕加索离开人世之前，画了自己。准确地说，画了面对死亡深渊的自画像《面对死亡的自画像》。毕加索1973年4月8日凌晨醒来后，无法下床，唤了太太，十分钟后过世，死因为心脏衰竭。
去世九个月前，毕加索用蜡笔在纸上画了这样一个令人畏惧的形象：一双似乎因惶恐而睁大的眼睛，紧闭的双唇，憔悴的脸庞衬着鲜明凸出的颧骨，这与他实际的长相很不同。一生创作估计有五万件作品（包括绘画、素描、雕塑）的毕加索，在人生最后的日子里，创作了三张自画像。朋友Pierre Daix回忆去探访毕卡索时，画家将自画像放在脸旁，对照画里流露的恐惧。三个月后重访，自画像的线条更加深刻，眼都不眨一下，令他联想到画家正在面对死亡。 The last well-known self-portrait by the influential Spanish artist was completed about nine months before his death at age 91. Titled Self Portrait Facing Death (June 1972), it was drawn with crayon and showed terrified eyes, pursed lips and a gaunt face, which was very different from how he looked.
In fact, Picasso completed a few other self-portraits days before and after this one. A friend, Pierre Daix, recalled visiting Picasso while he was working on the famous piece. “[Picasso] held the drawing beside his face to show that the expression of fear was a contrivance.” On a subsequent visit three months later, Pierre found that the harsh coloured lines had become even deeper. He wrote: “He did not blink. I had the sudden impression that he was staring his own death in the face, like a good Spaniard.”
A prolific artist, Picasso produced an estimated 50,000 artworks, including paintings, drawings and sculptures. His death was sudden. He woke up early one morning and, finding himself unable to get out of bed, called for his wife. Ten minutes later, he died of a heart attack. 梵高 Vincent van Gogh 1853-1890 大家一直以为荷兰大画家、后印象派代表梵高的《麦田和乌鸦》（Wheatfield With Crows，1890）是他告别作。或许因为一大片麦田里黑暗云层中纷飞的乌鸦，犹如死神派来的使者召唤，更能隐喻画家频临疯狂的边缘。后来，研究者在 《关于梵高的新发现》一书中阐明：《树根》很可能是他的最后作品！