Here's what we know: On December 16, 2009, the Italian blogger Cattani Simone visited the Contemporary and Modern Art Museum of Trento and Rovereto, where a painting by Pablo Picasso caught his eye. The painting, a 1934 work called Two Characters, leapt out at Simone because of a part that looks like this:
This reminded Simone of the Mac Finder icon, which looks like this:
And now, people are asking whether the painting influenced the look of the icon. That remains unclear, but here's what else we know: Apple has taken design cues from Picasso before. Gizmodo's Jesus Diaz points out that "the original Mac icon... was nicknamed the Picasso Mac," and that the designers, Tom Hughes and John Casado, were "inspired" by the Spanish painter. (The Apple Museum calls this "probably the most popular logo.") Here's what that logo looks like:
Here's Picasso making a guest appearance in an Apple commercial:
And here, for the record, is Steve Jobs quoting (or, probably, misquoting) Picasso's supposed line about how "good artists copy, great artists steal":
These, ladies and gentlemen, are the facts. Now it's left for you to judge: Does all of this prove that Pablo Picasso wrote the OS for the iPhone during his Blue Period, and Steve Jobs time-traveled back to 1902 and stole it from him? Does it prove that Jobs was cackling maniacally as he fired up the time machine, and had blood dripping from his fangs? We can't say that it does. But we can't say that it doesn't.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.