Who Is This?


A year before Picasso died, he painted this self-portrait called The Young Painter. It could be said that it was a memorial to his earliest beginnings as a painter. The psychologist James Hillman had a different idea. He described this painting as the portrait of Picasso’s daimon, the ever-present force that guided him his entire life. His notion of this daimon is that it haunted and inhabited Picasso’s life and then revealed itself finally to him before he died; that this was the impetus behind his prolific artistic output.  Hillman’s idea of the myth of the daimon is that it is like an acorn that one is born with and as your life unfolds, the acorn spreads its branches as it matures with you into a mighty oak. He actually referred to this painting as the acorn painted by the oak. Whether one believes this literally or as just a metaphor, it is a way of looking at your life with an acknowledgement that perhaps certain talents cannot be accounted for just by the nature/nurture argument that you are a product of either your genetic history and/or your environment growing up as a child. It is the subject of his, ‘The Soul’s Code: In Search of Character and Calling‘ and the idea of the daimon as a driving force in your life is something we will explore more in future posts.

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