Seeing Through Different Eyes: Why Picasso’s Portrait Failed to Catch a Thief

One day, Picasso was painting in the studio. Occasionally he looked up and saw a stranger walking into the yard. He thought he was a guest of the housekeeper Irene, so he continued his painting without thinking much.

After a while, Irene came back with the ingredients and saw a stranger walking out hurriedly. The two almost bumped into each other. Irene felt something bad. When she walked into the living room, she saw that the room was in a mess. She immediately understood what had happened, turned around and came to the studio, and said to Picasso: “Master, a thief just entered the house, didn’t you notice?”

Picasso heard this and smiled slightly: “Don’t worry, I remember his appearance.” Then he drew a portrait on the paper and handed it to Irene: “Take this and go to the police station to report the crime.”

The police heard that the graphics were drawn by Picasso himself, so they were convinced. Based on the characteristics provided by the portraits, they arrested more than a dozen suspects one after another. However, after interrogation, they found that they were all arrested by mistake.

The situation reached an impasse and Erin approached the police again. She said: “I have also seen the thief. I remember what he looks like. I can try to draw it.”
Eileen relied on her memory to sketch the thief’s face.

The police were surprised to find that the portrait painted by Irene was very different from the one painted by Picasso. After all, it was a matter of chance. I tried to capture a suspect based on her portrait. Unexpectedly, after interrogation, it turned out to be the thief who broke into the house that day.

The policeman handling the case was overjoyed and came to express his gratitude to Irene and said to Picasso: “Master Bi, you are a world-famous painter, but in this case, Irene’s portrait is obviously more accurate.”

Picasso laughed loudly after hearing this: “My paintings are cubism, and Irene’s paintings are realism. The styles are different, and the effect must vary from person to person.”
The story is quite philosophical, so I printed it out and put it on my desk.

Later, when the lady saw it, she frowned and said disdainfully: “This story is fictional. I have read another version.”

——One day, Picasso was painting indoors. His housekeeper Eileen was busy watering the garden. Suddenly, she saw a figure running out of the living room and quickly running out of the courtyard. Her intuition told her that something was wrong. She ran into the living room in three steps and found that a valuable painting on the wall was missing.

Irene quickly told Picasso about the theft. The master said “hmm” and said thoughtfully: “I happened to look up just now and caught a glimpse of that guy’s back. Did you see his appearance clearly?”
Erin replied: “I only saw his profile.”

Picasso nodded: “You have studied painting with me for so many years, and your sketching skills have long been passed. You try to draw his profile and report it to the police station.”

Erin obeyed and clearly drew the outlines of the man’s hat, face, clothes, pants, and even shoes. Based on her description, the police arrested several suspects. After interrogation, they all had solid alibi.

The police had no choice but to turn to Picasso again. Picasso drew a simple back with a stroke of his pen: a few stray hairs, a pair of sloping shoulders, and a right-handed leg. Based on this picture, the police quickly identified the real thief.

People lamented that although Irene captured the shape of the object, the shape often changed in specific time and space. What Picasso grasped was the god of the object, which has the stability to remain unchanged even if it is burned to ashes.

“This story is more exciting,” I said, “but I’ve checked many versions on the Internet, but I haven’t seen the one you’re talking about?”

“Of course not,” the lady said, “I made this up improvised and original. Don’t you writers often play with fiction? I can also make up a third version for you: Irene and Picasso each have their own merits.”
“Okay, give it a try.”
The lady began to narrate——

“One night, the housekeeper Irene and Picasso both fell asleep. A thief pried open the courtyard door, sneaked into the living room, and stole the famous paintings hanging on the wall. The noise woke Irene, and she shouted loudly: ‘Who? What are you doing?’ Then she quickly got up and rushed to the living room. At a glance, she only saw a masked man, revealing a pair of small eyes that were half grey-blue and half yellow-brown. He turned around and ran away with a painting, disappearing into the darkness. At the same time, Picasso was awakened by the butler’s shouts and heard a burst of footsteps that were rising and falling, near and far away.”
The lady stopped and stopped narrating.
“Then what?” I asked impatiently.

“Then the police targeted the thief in both directions based on the different images drawn by Irene and Picasso.”
“You have to explain clearly how they painted it.”

The lady smiled and replied: “Thank you for being a writer! I have made it clear enough. Readers with normal intelligence will automatically make up their mind after hearing this, so there is no need to add any extraneous details.”

“It is indeed a wonderful way to write something unexpectedly!” I think she should write novels.

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