Pablo Ruiz y Picasso, also known as Pablo Picasso (25 October 1881 – 8 April 1973), was a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, stage designer, poet and playwright who spent most of his adult life in France. Regarded as one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century, he is known for co-founding the Cubist movement, the invention of constructed sculpture, the co-invention of collage, and for the wide variety of styles that he helped develop and explore.
Among his most famous works are the proto-Cubist Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907), and Guernica (1937), a portrayal of the Bombing of Guernica by the German and Italian airforces at the behest of the Spanish nationalist government during the Spanish Civil War.
Pablo Picasso biography
Picasso is not just a man and his work. Picasso is always a legend, indeed almost a myth. In the public view he has long since been the personification of genius in modern art. Picasso is an idol, one of those rare creatures who act as crucibles in which the diverse and often chaotic phenomena of culture are focussed, who seem to body forth the artistic life of their age in one person. The same thing happens in politics, science, sport. And it happens in art.
Born in Malaga, Spain, in October of 1881, he was the first child born in the family. His father worked as an artist, and was also a professor at the school of fine arts; he also worked as a curator for the museum in Malaga. Pablo Picasso studied under his father for one year, then went to the Academy of Arts for one year, prior to moving to Paris. In 1901 he went to Paris, which he found as the ideal place to practice new styles, and experiment with a variety of art forms. It was during these initial visits, which he began his work in surrealism and cubism style, which he was the founder of, and created many distinct pieces which were influenced by these art forms.
Updates in style
During his stay in Paris, Pablo Picasso was constantly updating his style; he did work from the blue period, the rose period, African influenced style, to cubism, surrealism, and realism. Not only did he master these styles, he was a pioneer in each of these movements, and influenced the styles to follow throughout the 20th century, from the initial works he created. In addition to the styles he introduced to the art world, he also worked through the many different styles which appeared, while working in Paris. Not only did he continually improve his style, and the works he created, he is well known because of the fact that he had the ability to create in any style which was prominent during the time.
In 1917, Pablo Picasso joined the Russian Ballet, which toured in Rome; during this time he met Olga Khoklova, who was a ballerina; the couple eventually wed in 1918, upon returning to Paris. The couple eventually separated in 1935; Olga came from nobility, and an upper class lifestyle, while Pablo Picasso led a bohemian lifestyle, which conflicted. Although the couple separated, they remained officially married, until Olga’s death, in 1954. In addition to works he created of Olga, many of his later pieces also took a centralized focus on his two other love interests, Marie Theresa Walter and Dora Maar. Pablo Picasso remarried Jacqueline Roque in 1961; the couple remained married until his death 12 years later, in 1973.
Work as a pacifist
Pablo Picasso was a pacifist, and large scale paintings he created, showcased this cry for peace, and change during the time. A 1937 piece he created, after the German bombing of Guernica, was one such influential piece of the time. Not only did this become his most famous piece of art work, but the piece which showed the brutality of war, and death, also made him a prominent political figure of the time. To sell his work, and the message he believed in, art, politics, and eccentricity, were among his main selling points.
Conflicting with social views
Many things Pablo Picasso did during the 1950s, conflicted with the general public. Viciousness towards his children, exaggerated virility towards women, and joining the Communist party, were some of the many scandals which he was involved in during his lifetime. Although most of the things he did were viewed negatively by a minority of the general public, admirers of Pablo Picasso turned a blind eye, and still accepted him as a prominent figure in their society. Following the end of WWII, Pablo Picasso turned back towards his classic style of work, and he created the “Dove of Peace.” Even though he became a member of the Communist party, and supported Stalin and his political views and rule, Pablo Picasso could do no wrong. In the eyes of his admirers and supporters, he was still a prominent figure, and one which they would follow, regardless of what wrongs he did. He was not only an influence because of the works he created, but he was also an influential figure in the political realm.
Influence outside of art
Although Pablo Picasso is mainly known for his influence to the art world, he was an extremely prominent figure during his time, and to the 20th century in general. He spread his influences to the art world, but also to many aspects of the cultural realm of life as well. He played several roles in film, where he always portrayed himself; he also followed a bohemian lifestyle, and seemed to take liberties as he chose, even during the later stages of his life. He even died in style, while hosting a dinner party in his home.
Pablo Picasso art
Pablo Picasso was the most dominant and influential artist of the first half of the twentieth century. Associated most of all with pioneering Cubism, alongside Georges Braque, he also invented collage and made major contributions to Symbolism and Surrealism. He saw himself above all as a painter, yet his sculpture was greatly influential, and he also explored areas as diverse as printmaking and ceramics. Finally, he was a famously charismatic personality; his many relationships with women not only filtered into his art but also may have directed its course, and his behavior has come to embody that of the bohemian modern artist in the popular imagination.
- Picasso first emerged as a Symbolist influenced by the likes of Edvard Munch and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. This tendency shaped his so-called Blue Period, in which he depicted beggars, prostitutes, and various urban misfits, and also the brighter moods of his subsequent Rose Period.
- It was a confluence of influences – from Paul Cézanne and Henri Rousseau, to archaic and tribal art – that encouraged Picasso to lend his figures more weight and structure around 1906. And they ultimately set him on the path towards Cubism, in which he deconstructed the conventions of perspectival space that had dominated painting since the Renaissance. These innovations would have far-reaching consequences for practically all of modern art, revolutionizing attitudes to the depiction of form in space.
- Picasso’s immersion in Cubism also eventually led him to the invention of collage, in which he abandoned the idea of the picture as a window on objects in the world, and began to conceive of it merely as an arrangement of signs that used different, sometimes metaphorical means, to refer to those objects. This too would prove hugely influential for decades to come.
- Picasso had an eclectic attitude to style, and although, at any one time, his work was usually characterized by a single dominant approach, he often moved interchangeably between different styles – sometimes even in the same artwork.
- His encounter with Surrealism in the mid-1920s, although never transforming his work entirely, encouraged a new expressionism that had been suppressed throughout the years of experiment in Cubism and subsequently during the early 1920s when his style was predominantly classical. This development enabled not only the soft forms and tender eroticism of his portraits of his mistress Marie-Therese Walter, but also the starkly angular imagery of Guernica (1937), the century’s most famous anti-war painting.