George Braque said, “Everything is subject to metamorphosis; everything changes according to circumstance. So when you ask me whether a particular form in one of my paintings depicts a woman’s head, a fish, a vase, a bird or all four at once, I can’t give you a categorical answer for this ‘metamorphic’ confusion is fundamental to what I am out to express.”
Matisse was more forthcoming. “Matisse often told me that the best thing the old masters have, their raison d’etre, is beyond them, that they are not able to teach it and that they waste their time by trying. But they are able to teach, without meaning to, by informal conversations about their work and their life,” reported Henry de Montherlant
Of course, you didn’t ask him if it was a fish or maybe a woman’s head….
Picasso had some Ingrist inclinations. What if he had followed that impulse rather than choose an avant garde aesthetic? What if he had built an art on Benedetta Casals, following his own instinct for realism even when realism was waning as a recognized style?
A great artist creates styles as easily as others follow a tide.