ARTIST INTRO: PABLO PICASSO
Birthplace: Malaga, Spain
Favorite mediums: Oil Paint on Canvas
Styles/Periods: Blue Period, Rose Period, African Period, Cubism, Classicism, Surrealism.
Who Was Pablo?
Pablo Picasso was one of the most talented artists in the 20th century. The world failed to judge him and nobody took notice of his masterpieces during his life. But when he died, his art was sold in billions. He was keen to do paintings since his childhood and used to make amazing portraits of his friends.
Picasso, a great artist from Malaga, Spain, was born on 25th Oct, 1881. His father was Don José Ruiz Blasco, a painter and art teacher in a nearby school. He learned the basic knowledge of arts from his father.
Picasso learned the basic painting from his father during his early childhood. His father once noticed him painting over his incomplete pigeon sketch with a great technique. He realized that Picasso already had surpassed his skills at a very young age of thirteen. So, he granted all his painting tools to him.
He recalled his childhood days one day, “When I was a child, my mother said to me, ‘If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general. If you become a monk you’ll end up as the pope, instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.”
Picasso’s School Life
Picasso didn’t have much interest in studies. Acknowledging that, his father sent him to Barcelona’s prestigious School of Fine Arts in year 1895. He wasn’t able to study there properly because of strict rules and formalities. So, he returned back without wasting any time.
In 1897, when he was sixteen years old, he moved to Madrid to attend the Royal Academy of San Fernando. However, he once again failed to study there as the main focus over there was on classical subjects that he had no interest about.
In 1899, he returned to Barcelona and met a lot of artist and intellectuals over there. These anarchists and radicals inspired him a lot and he moved away from the classical methods that he learned during his school life to adopt reality-based methods to work with for the rest of his life.
After that, his father sent him to Paris where he met with a few genius painters and developed new skills. He kept progressing in his field during his stay in Paris. He didn’t only work on the blue and pink painting but mastered them. Then he returned to Spain and started making paintings.
Picasso is best known for his innovative paintings, switching between styles with such skill that we are bound to assume that his life work is not a single man’s effort, rather a work of several artists.
As per the Biography.com website, “Whenever I wanted to say something, I said it the way I believed I should,” he explained. “Different themes inevitably require different methods of expression. This does not imply either evolution or progress; it is a matter of following the idea one wants to express and the way in which one wants to express it.”
His portraits were a little strange earlier on, but no one could imagine he is going to be a legend later on. His works kept better and better as he grew up. When he was 15, his father was convinced about his painting skills so he granted him all the painting tools he had and advised him to adapt painting as a profession.
Blue Period (1901-1904)
Mostly, the artists divide Picasso’s art works into different periods. Blue period is the first one of them and is named after the dominant blue color he used during in almost all his paintings during this period.
During his stay in Paris, France, Picasso was frustrated following the death of his best friend, Carlos Cassagemas and painted a lot of scenes of poverty, isolation, and anguish, mostly shaded blue and green. His most famous paintings during this period are known as “La Vie”, “The Old Guitarist”, and “Blue Nude”. He finished all these paintings in 1903.
Rose Period (1904-06)
Picasso reformed a bit from the pain of his friend’s death by the year 1905 so he started using light colors including pink and red. Therefore, this period is known as “Red Period”. He again created a few wonderful paintings including “Family at Saltimbanques” (1905), “Gertrude Stein” (1905-06) and “Two Nudes” (1906).
In 1907, Picasso first witnessed the archaic African art in a museum exhibition in Trocadero. He got inspired by the primitive idols, statues and masks. He took the path and simplified the characters shapes to look like wooden or stone idols. He knew that the primitive man was supposed to live within the nature, thus, gave equal attention to the characters surrounding the main figure. A few of his masterpieces during this period came in the shape of “Dance of the Veils”, “Three Women”, “Dryad”, “Woman with a Fan”, and above all, “The Young Ladies of Avignon”.
Cubism was a different kind of artistic style in which objects are broken apart and are given an abstract shape. Their geometric shapes are highlighted and the style in itself looks both destructive and creative. This form of art was pioneered by Picasso and his friend George Braque. Picasso’s famous cubist paintings are “Three Women” (1907), “Bread and Fruit Dish on a Table” (1909) and “Girl with Mandolin” (1910).
The World War I turned the theme of Picasso’s paintings from experimentation to realism for a while, therefore, the period is called Classism. His arts are a lot more serious and depict the image of reality. The most famous works during this period include “Three Women at the Spring” (1921), “Two Women Running on the Beach/The Race” (1922) and “The Pipes of Pan” (1923).
From the Year 1927 onward, Picasso, being a matured man, was caught up in a movement called Surrealism. “Guernica” is one of the all-time famous painting that he completed during this period in 1937.
Later in his life, Picasso became an international celebrity. He also joined the Communist Party after the World War II and was honored with international Lenin Peace Prizes twice.
Despite that, he kept creating paintings throughout his life. His important works during this period include “Jacqueline with Flowers”, “Woman sitting in an armchair”, and “The painter II” and “Woman with pillow”. He created “Self Portrait Facing Death” using pencil and crayon, one year before his death.
Death And Family
Picasso died in Mougins, France, on 8th April 1973 when he was 91. The reason of his death was heart failure.
Despite having relationships with countless women throughout his life, Pablo got married only twice—with Olga Khokhlova in and with Marie-Thérèse Walter. He and Olga had a son together, named Paulo. They spent 9 years together before getting separated. Whereas Walter and Picasso had a long-term relationship and they had a daughter together, Maya. Walter committed a suicide after the death of her husband.
Major Museums That Contain Pablo’s Works
If you wish to see Pablo’s work on display you can find some at these locations:
- The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago
- Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland
- The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia
- The Metropolitan Museum, New York City
- The Museum of Modern Art, New York City
- The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
- The Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art, Saint Joseph, Missouri
Documentary: Pablo Picasso
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