Bardot and Picasso

In 1956 Brigitte Bardot visited Pablo Picasso’s villa in the town of Vallauris on the French Riviera. Although Picasso never painted Bardot, Jerome Brierre of LIFE Magazine took several photographs of the meeting. They show the 21 year old Bardot and the 74 year old Picasso in the artist’s studio filled with his etudes and ceramic sculptures. Although Bardot looks fragile and young, she holds her own, and every image shows her in control, if not in defiance. Exquisite, isn’t she?

Photograph by Jerome Brierre via Getty Images



  • Monica: I love Bardot’s pose! February 9, 2018 at 9:28am

    • Victoria: Me too! This whole photography session was beautiful. February 9, 2018 at 11:29am

  • Bela: All young girls wanted to look like her. A few years later, I, like everyone else, wore a pink-and-white gingham skirt with a broderie anglaise petticoat peeking from underneath, with ballet flats.

    For years, we looked forward to New Year’s Eve on the telly: there was always a show with her and Serge Gainsbourg singing together. It was really fun.

    Pity she’s aged so badly, both physically and mentally, and has become a fascist. February 9, 2018 at 9:58am

    • Austenfan: She does seem to have become so bitter, a shame really. February 9, 2018 at 10:21am

      • Bela: She’s said vile things. February 9, 2018 at 10:23am

    • Victoria: The other day I was chatting with my neighbor downstairs, who was telling me the same thing. She had an old issue of the magazine in which these photos appeared, and she mentioned how much she wanted the same dress.

      Ironically, Bardot aged mentally into a Picasso painting, the ones that depicted grotesque, raving individuals. February 9, 2018 at 11:32am

      • Hayley: THIS.

        I appreciate that you can admire a moment of the past while acknowledging the subsequent failings of its subject. February 9, 2018 at 11:46am

        • Victoria: Many artists, authors and perfumers admired for their creations were people either with deep personal flaws or political views that don’t mesh with ours. In the end, it’s a personal choice. One can watch Bardot in Contempt and admire her 20-year loveliness without needing to respect her views today. February 9, 2018 at 12:02pm

          • Hayley: I fully agree. For example, personally I still admire Polansky’s The Pianist, but cannot stand Gauguin’s pictures because so many of them depict his twisted fantasies and subjects of his abuse. And so on.. February 9, 2018 at 12:13pm

    • Rita: Things haven’t changed much then 😀🎉 February 10, 2018 at 8:42am

  • Sirina: I still have a bottle of Bardot perfume from my mother it is called “La Madrague” a sunny, sunlotion type perfume, a summer, pineapple perfume, wish I can replicate it one day! February 9, 2018 at 10:02am

    • Victoria: Oh, I don’t know that one, but it sounds fun. February 9, 2018 at 11:35am

    • Trudy: Oh wow, this sounds like something I would like. I love fragrances that can be described as “sunny” especially on a spring or summer day. February 9, 2018 at 12:41pm

  • OnWingsofSaffron: No, I don‘t think she is exquisite: she is racist, homophobic, islamophobic, sexist (read her rambling re #MeToo). Sorry, I find her beyond the pale even though, yes, in the past she was an idol. February 9, 2018 at 10:17am

    • Bela: I agree with you (see above), but I think Victoria meant ‘in this picture’. February 9, 2018 at 10:25am

    • Victoria: She became a person I neither respect nor admire, but I can still appreciate her earlier work, which defined that epoch. Picasso was no angel either. February 9, 2018 at 11:36am

  • Ariadne: My goodness must have been a FABULOUS villa!!! This pic looks like it may have been staged. Look at the reiteration of the female portraits to the upper right and Bardot’s stance. It is nice this is in B&W though. Color would have been over the top! February 9, 2018 at 10:39am

    • Victoria: It doesn’t look staged for this photograph, because I’ve seen the same arrangement in others, more informal photographs. In this whole series, both Picasso and Bardot look quite relaxed, although when Bardot is photographed on her own, there is plenty of self-conscious posing going on. This is my favorite photograph of the series. February 9, 2018 at 11:38am

  • Cornelia Blimber: Nobody is entirely good or entirely bad. Judging is easy.
    Her opinions may be on the extreme side, but on the other side she defends animal rights.

    And yes, she is exquisite on this picture. February 9, 2018 at 10:51am

    • Victoria: There is another photo I love in the series of her looking over Picasso’s shoulder as he paints. February 9, 2018 at 11:44am

  • Lari: I agree here. Bitter with disgraceful ideas. For me, exquisite was Audrey Hepburn. Her experience during the war gave her a humility or sorts. She was very gracious in demeanor and at the end of her life she was actively working with UNICEF on behalf of children. If anyone has the opportunity…she had an extended interview with Phil Donahue later in her life and if you weren’t a complete fan before , this will nail it. As for being a style icon, need I go on? She was fabulous. People like B Bardot aren’t on that radar screen February 9, 2018 at 11:23am

    • Victoria: Audrey as a style icon is perhaps more classical, but Bardot definitely was very influential too. Both had such a distinctive, much imitated style. Bardot as an individual is not someone I admire, that’s for sure. February 9, 2018 at 11:50am

    • Bela: You obviously weren’t in France when BB was a star, Lari. I was. She definitely was a style idol too. Just a different kind.

      Audrey Hepburn hid her highly sexed nature behind a ladylike appearance and demeanour — a bit like Grace Kelly, who had affairs with every single one of her leading men. BB was more honest in that respect. February 9, 2018 at 6:19pm

      • Victoria: And not just in France! In grandmother’s photo album from her student days Bardot’s influence is very clear. Some photos of her and her friends are touching–a row of girls with similar crinoline dresses, dramatic eyeliner and messy hair. The Soviet versions of Bardot! February 9, 2018 at 6:39pm

        • bregje: my mom talked about the bb-diamondpatern(i don’t know the exact translation, but bb stood for brigitte bardot) that was very popular when she was young.
          And think about the claudia schiffer photographs in the nineties.
          Even in the movie Barcelona(by another questionable director) Penelope Cruz is made to look like Bardot in some photo’s.
          So i’d say she’s been a huge influence stylewise.

          As for her opinions:i agree with Cornelia.
          Who knows what made her think/become like this?
          I value opinions and judgements less and less since they don’t seem to bring much good into the world and only divide us.
          I am quite opinionated myself but recently i’ve started to try to see those thoughts separate from who i am or who the other person is.
          Which is difficult and probably a subject more suited for a spiritual blog 😉 February 12, 2018 at 9:32pm

  • penny: I think she studied ballet as a child and was very serious about it I think her very strong stance is due to this, it is admirable for someone so young to be this confident around this older important gentleman ,I am hoping to find some adult ballet classes because I really think good posture and awareness of your body language helps you stay in control and prevents you being victimised. February 9, 2018 at 11:29am

    • Victoria: She did, and it’s very clear from her posture.

      I can’t recommend ballet classes highly enough, both for improving posture, grace of movements, and generally, to become more aware of one’s body. February 9, 2018 at 11:52am

      • penny: thank you I am going to try, its my new years resolution. February 9, 2018 at 11:56am

  • Mel: This photo is sublime! Her dress! His art! Those windows/doors! Had NO idea BB had evolved into a fascist! As for her ravaged looks today, sometimes a person’s mental state becomes manifest physically. She’s certainly not the case of someone who decided to age “naturally” – she looks mad. And by that I mean mad as in crazy, not just mad at the world. But she was one of the first to protest seal clubbing in the 70s which definitely raised awareness about that horrific practice. February 9, 2018 at 12:32pm

    • Victoria: Yes, she retired from acting to devote attention to her animal protection foundation. She adopted many stray dogs from Romania when they were being butchered in a campaign to “clean up” the city. February 9, 2018 at 5:40pm

      • Cornelia Blimber: That’s what I said. Nobody is entirely good or bad, and she does good work for animals.
        I have the impression that my comment was not taken seriously. Now I am glad that you say this as well. February 10, 2018 at 4:24am

        • Victoria: It certainly was. February 10, 2018 at 5:04am

        • bregje: Your comment certainly was taken seriously by me,Cornelia 🙂 February 12, 2018 at 9:35pm

  • Joy Erickson: Beautiful photo as a snapshot in time. I love the studio. I did not realize that when my friends and I all wanted puffy skirts with petticoats we were emulating the dress style of BB. I did not follow BB much in film.
    Quite right, Picasso was no upstanding angel as is evidenced by the phasing into his art his various new mistresses. February 9, 2018 at 3:20pm

    • Victoria: It’s so 50s! February 9, 2018 at 5:41pm

  • Karen A: I hesitated before commenting when I saw the post this morning as I didn’t want to be really negative. But after reading others comments I had a few other concerns too – such as if you take away knowing that it’s two famous people (which I know is next to impossible!), it just seems kind of skeezy for lack of a better term. And looking at the other photos from this shoot just reinforced my initial reaction.

    I get that she was a style icon and sex symbol and movie star, but ick. Now she’s beyond horrid. And when I hear or read her hateful words now, I cannot look at her as a young woman without hearing them or seeing the choices she’s now made with her world views.

    And there are so many ways for those who rely on their looks to age gracefully. After seeing this post I looked at Audrey Hepburn photos as an older woman and am happy that Lari commented about her. (And I know I know Picasso was a great artist, etc etc but I’m just tired of all the bad behaviour being swept aside or excused or whatever).

    I don’t know, everything feels wrong with so many things that were acceptable in the past. And child rapists get no pass from me with regards to Roman Polanski. February 9, 2018 at 5:16pm

    • Victoria: What I like about this image is that it’s a snapshot in time. They are two artists who left a deep imprint on the past century, whether one likes them as individuals or not. And it shows them both in a moment of time, engaging with each other in a way that may have been uncomfortable, strange, tense, but also revealing. And also beautiful.

      I’m against boycotting people’s art because of their political views, even if I absolutely disagree with them. I lived in the USSR, and I know where that leads. Finally, neither Bardot not Picasso were the criminals like Polanski.

      Lastly, nobody owes to anyone to age “gracefully.” I find this concept problematic when it comes to discussing women’s looks. Bardot, in fact, selected to age naturally, without the use of plastic surgery. February 9, 2018 at 6:14pm

      • M: Victoria, I totally agree about ‘aging gracefully’. Whatever else one wants to say about BB, mentioning the way she looks to kick her is, well, disgraceful.
        Bardot’s a 83-year-old woman who has let nature take its course.

        I find it disconcerting how we’ve come to accept and expect plastic surgery so much that lack of it (in a celebrity no less) is seen as grotesque. Or that how ‘taking care’ of one’s skin is seen as a virtue women should strive for, or else they are a failure.

        FWIW Hepburn shied the public in her later life and died at a relatively young 63. So obviously she’s now forever etched in people’s minds as someone eternally young and graceful. Whereas Bardot’s still out there, living her life the way she chooses to.

        I don’t condone everything she says, but she has the right to do so (including bearing the consequences of her actions). February 10, 2018 at 12:28am

        • Victoria: Very true. I find it troubling.

          Audrey’s life was also not picture perfect, which is why Hollywood had to invent a number of myths about her, including her being part of the Dutch Resistance during the war. But none of it takes away from her films, her style or her supporting many good causes. February 10, 2018 at 3:26am

          • Cornelia Blimber: Dear M, I agree with everything you said! February 10, 2018 at 4:27am

      • Silvermoon: Dear Victoria and M,
        I couldn’t agree more with your comments on ageing “gracefully “. It’s sad to see women themselves apply this ridiculous standard to other women (and then complain if men comment on a woman’s looks).

        Of course, it’s a pleasure to look upon beauty, but it is not a measure of someone’s worth or value as a human being.

        Plastic surgery to “correct” ageing really only says that you could afford it. One should do it if one wants to, but nobody should be judged for not doing it. February 10, 2018 at 1:22pm

        • Victoria: Indeed! If a woman doesn’t do something to stop the signs of time, she’s not aging the way others think she should. If she does, then she’s overdoing it, pretending to be something other than she is, etc. As you say, these standards are ridiculous and unrealistic. February 11, 2018 at 10:34am

      • Austenfan: I fully intend to age disgracefully!

        I loathe cosmetic surgery with all my soul. Sorry for being so outspoken but that is my honest opinion. I don’t mean reconstructive surgery, that developed, especially during WWI, to give people an acceptable appearance, after they had been horribly disfigured as a result of war injuries.
        The difficult thing that an acceptable appearance is not something that is set in stone. However, people forget that any surgery carries risks, and some cosmetic procedures quite major ones. So ideally you want some pretty compelling reasons for running them. February 10, 2018 at 1:45pm

        • Cornelia Blimber: Austenfan, as a doctor, you have some authority to say this.
          And besides: does plastic surgery make you young and beautiful? I don’t think so. it’s always visible ( Karl Lagerfeld: Man seht’s immer”..well. HE should know!) . It is a signal: I need this! I am Old! February 10, 2018 at 3:48pm

        • Karen A: Aging disgracefully to me just means mocking others, being intolerant, espousing hatred and bigotry.

          Aging gracefully has nothing to do in my mind with plastic surgery but rather living with kindness, generosity of spirit and thoughtfulness. February 10, 2018 at 6:23pm

          • Austenfan: My ‘aging disgracefully’ comment was more about the fact that this is something often used as a covert hint for women to stay looking young, groomed and generally being as inoffensive as possible. February 11, 2018 at 5:22am

        • Victoria: What’s more, if I ever reach my mid-80s, I fully to speak what’s on my mind.

          By the way, my grandmother completely give up on dressing up, skincare, makeup, and she feels happy and comfortable. My mom sometimes scolds her for “letting herself go,” but I really feel that she’s doing the right thing. She has her hobbies, her garden, and she likes best to dig around the onion patch in old sweatpants than dress up for a dinner party. Kudos, i say. She didn’t give up on perfume, though. February 11, 2018 at 4:13am

          • Austenfan: Perfume is different. At least to me it is. I’ve never really worn make up, but I’ve always loved all things scent related. It’s all about giving pleasure to one’s self.

            Your grandmother is perfectly right, of course. There comes a time when it becomes totally pointless to pretend anything other than we are.

            Aznavour sings about it rather beautifully here, very much from a male perspective though!
   February 11, 2018 at 5:26am

            • Victoria: That’s one of the reasons why I always loved perfume. It’s so much about my own pleasure and my own fantasies. Neither clothes nor makeup fill the same category of enjoyment for me. February 11, 2018 at 10:39am

              • Austenfan: I’ve never known nor examined why I love it, but I somehow always have. But I remember loving the smell of horses when I was little, and I still do. I also love them as animals but they just tend to smell great. If well kept of course. February 11, 2018 at 3:12pm

                • Victoria: I love the smell of horses too, but I get to experience it so rarely. February 12, 2018 at 4:57am

    • Karen A: Oh good grief. Aging gracefully to me means living a life filled with Grace and kindness. This is reflected in your appearance. be

      In no way was I advocating plastic surgery and I really can’t see – in any way how my words were taken to imply this. February 10, 2018 at 5:23pm

      • Victoria: Where does it leave the outspoken, graceless klutzes among us? I’d rather age honestly, remaining true to my beliefs and being able to voice them. I certainly can’t say that my life is filled with grace and kindness all the time, as I’m no saint.

        Aging gracefully is really a euphemism about looks, though. It’s very much about women (rarely, if ever, men) aging in such a way as not to offend with their aging bodies and faces and also staying good and quiet. Again, Mary Beard’s experience is instructive. February 11, 2018 at 3:59am

        • bregje: For me ,aging gracefully has always been something intangible that comes out from the inside.
          I don’t quite know how to put it into words but it’s a certain radiance or serenity.

          The first time i saw Audrey Hepburn on tv, i was a little girl and she was in her sixties.I had no idea who she was or that she was an actress.(i think it was a show about gardening)
          But i turned to my mom and told her i wanted to become as serene as that lady 😉

          A similar thing hit me a couple of years ago when i saw Ali Macgraw in a tv interview.70 years old, no make up, simple black ,shapeless dress and by no means pretty or beautiful according to todays standards and yet, she was mesmerising. February 12, 2018 at 9:52pm

          • bregje: oh i forgot to say that i agree that we usually think of women when discussing graceful aging.

            In men,Jeff Bridges and Paul Newman come to mind. February 12, 2018 at 10:18pm

  • Rita: I do ballet and it has improved my structure immensely. I will recommend it.
    Nice photo and happy belated new year🎉🎉 February 9, 2018 at 6:27pm

    • Victoria: Happy New Year to you too, Rita!
      Yes, ballet is great for this. February 9, 2018 at 6:40pm

  • Brenda: My comment is not based on an awful lot of knowledge about Bridget Bardot or, for that matter, Picasso. I certainly know of them – & have picked up on Ms. Bardot’s opinions not being in sync with today’s climate. I find the photograph interesting to look at for its artistic value – which I think it drips of. It is a beautiful frame in time…and I quite prefer it in black and white. I have one comment on aging and social behaviour. I have had -& still have – elderly family members who, over time, have lost their “filters” when it comes to what they say and when the say it. They are from a different generation – and I try to show tolerance as dimentia – and it’s social ramifications – has its way with them. Perhaps Ms. Bardot’s behaviour is connected to this as well. February 9, 2018 at 8:22pm

    • Victoria: I was thinking about this too. Trying to imagine a journalist walking around some of my aging relatives and recording their rants… I don’t follow much of what Bardot says these days, as on few occasions I’ve heard her give interviews, she sounded so incoherent and contradictory that I suspected an onset of dementia. She’s 83, I think. February 10, 2018 at 3:10am

      • Rita: It’s a shame about Bardot but to be fair she would have been alive during the 2ndww and even though people might not talk about it, subconsciously she would have been damaged by it. Also I hear that she wasn’t really into her fame so who knows she might have been a reluctant 🌟
        Also yes she might have crude opinions but she does live alone so who is she going to talk to but herself and we all know what it’s like to be head strong.
        Anyway people will have opinions about this that and the other but sometimes too we just have to take a step back and just realise that Bardot was also once upon a time the worlds sweetheart and now she appears to be the worlds enemy….u already see how fickle people can be. 🙄
        Sometimes we just have to take a step back and realise that none of us are perfect before we throws stones😯
        Just thought I would put my two cents in and Victoria you are doing a fabulous job, loving it😀😀🎉 February 10, 2018 at 8:52am

        • Victoria: As Francoise Sagan said about Bardot, she never apologized for her triumph, while other women apologized for their half-victories.

          Unfortunately, in her later years she became completely obsessed with her animal rights foundation and that really distorted her view of the world (even if the foundation itself has done many good, positive things for controlling stray animal populations in countries that don’t have their own means to do it, calling attention to certain cruel practices, etc.) February 11, 2018 at 4:07am

          • Cornelia Blimber: She is not a sweet old lady. Her views are far from mild and tolerant. That’s true.
            But I still respect her for what she did for animals. Her acts are really couragious.
            The rest is not for me to judge. February 11, 2018 at 6:30am

            • Victoria: She wasn’t simply a screen goddess, she was someone who redefined what’s acceptable for a woman. As someone said in this thread, she’s entitled to voice her views and to suffer the consequences. Here is a very good article, by the way:
              I love the story of her breaching the etiquette by wearing a hussar uniform to meet De Gaulle. At the time when the protocol banned pants for women! February 11, 2018 at 11:00am

              • Cornelia Blimber: Thank you for this most interesting article!

                BB is quite a character! controversial, yes, but strong and daring. She was condemned for what she said, and payed the fines…Justitia has spoken, so we can be silent.
                Should her opinions really still have some impact nowadays? February 11, 2018 at 11:35am

                • Victoria: We each are too entitled to our own opinions, of course, but I really wish that we expressed them in order to try to understand the viewpoints of others. February 11, 2018 at 1:10pm

                  • Cornelia Blimber: I think silence is better than judging and disapproval. February 11, 2018 at 1:42pm

  • Aurora: Thank you so much for this photo, Victoria. It is so refreshing that they seem deep in conversation, and of course she has that little ballerina’s poise. Bardot today, I agree with Cornelia about the awareness on cruelty to animals, it was little talked about at the time and she’s been courageous in that respect. She strikes me as having a lot of ‘bourgeois’ prejudices which can be explained a lot by her childhood but are nevertheless indefensible. She embodied freedom in her youth. and to try to be positive she has never been hypocritical. February 10, 2018 at 4:35am

    • Victoria: She also was always very outspoken, that’s for sure, and the ire directed at her is something many women who try to speak their mind experience. Consider the case of Mary Beard, who is the polar opposite of Bardot when it comes to her political views. Incidentally, she too was slammed for her aging looks. I don’t share Bardot’s views, but to denigrate her work, her style, her choice of forgo plastic surgery or her work on animal issues altogether is wrong. If we evaluated the merit of art based on the pristine moral values of its creators, I fear that we would have precious little left. Today it’s hard to have a discussion about it without people starting to moralize, judge and view everything in black or white, but there were a number of thoughtful, interesting comments in this thread. Many issues to ponder.

      Looking at the old photographs of Bardot, I’m always struck by her balletic posture. Even when she’s relaxed. February 10, 2018 at 5:46am

      • Maria-Anna: Ah, so interesting that you have mentioned Mary Beard! I confess to having been on a bit of a fan-trip of her work and achievements recently. And I think some of what she has to say about women’s voice in the public sphere (in Women and Power) might be quite pertinent to this discussion about Brigitte Bardot.

        But I think you’re very right that the discussion offers a lot of food for thought, either way! I feel that all too often, the stories that mainstream film, television (and other media) tries to sell us don’t equip us very well to deal with complexity in individuals. February 10, 2018 at 9:14am

        • Victoria: It really doesn’t. People are complex, and their choices can’t always be reduced to the simple good vs bad.

          I highly recommend Women and Power to everyone, especially other people reading this thread. February 11, 2018 at 4:16am

  • Maria: Dear Victoria and all the readers,
    My english is not really good so I was following the thread but having difficult to explain my ideas. I will try my best.
    I’m afraid we are entering in a new puritanism era. I’m sure that artists, and all the people with some kind of power that comitted a crime must pay their fault in front of justice, just as everyone, but what I feel now is that we are also expecting this people to be perfect, physically and morally. As Richard Sennett said in the 70, we are really entering in a tirany of intimacy. And as an artist myself, I can say it is not going to enrich the art itself, neither the society. February 11, 2018 at 9:22am

    • Cornelia Blimber: Compliments on your English, Maria. Far better than mine. February 11, 2018 at 9:52am

      • Maria: Thank you!! Boisdejasmin is my learning space 🙂 February 11, 2018 at 10:54am

    • Victoria: Your English is excellent, Maria. I can’t agree more with your comment, and I thank you for putting it so well. The expectation today is that the art has to be moral and so is the artist. But art is about questioning, pushing the boundaries, making us think, and even about making us uncomfortable. I find this trend disturbing, and I think that this puritanism does much disservice to the society as a whole, as well as to the liberal movement, in whose name some people push for the censorship of art and artists. February 11, 2018 at 11:52am

      • Maria: I completely agree with you Victoria. The function of art is to explore and push the boundaries, to question the society, not just to entertain or to keep the statu quo. Bardot and Picasso did question the society and that’s the reason why they gain their place in history. I just hope our era is not going to enter to history as a moral censorship one :-(. Thank you for giving us a space to talk about that. February 11, 2018 at 12:38pm

  • penny: i think it is interesting that the discussion on bardot is now over and we are on to talking about chocolate cake because we can ! we can walk off back to our comfortable lives, and forget.
    Animals that are suffering every day cannot and that is why people like BB dedicate their lives to them and say some unsettling things.( because she is probably frustrated that some people don,t care)
    Above everything else I am grateful to her for caring about animals and trying to make a positive difference I really love her for that . February 12, 2018 at 9:59am

    • Victoria: Being concerned about animals is not an excuse for making racist remarks (even if that were the only explanation for Bardot’s outrageous statements in her retirement).

      This discussion is indeed over. Thank you to everyone who participated. February 12, 2018 at 11:55am

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