The Life of Pablo Picasso

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Pablo Picasso was a Spanish sculptor, painter, stage designer, ceramist, and printmaker who spent most of his life reinventing art. Picasso is considered one of the most prominent, dominant, and significant artists of the 20th Century. Almost fifty years after his demise, Picasso’s work and influence can still be seen in various modern painting styles and designs. His influences go beyond a single school of thought because of his ability to formulate new designs and transform his paintings throughout his life. Picasso is primarily famous for inventing Cubism, alongside Georges Braque, focusing on moving away from the use of illusions and perspective to represent images. However, Picasso contributed to various styles over the seven decades of his working life. His versatility and innovativeness made him stand out among other painters of his period. Picasso’s painting depicts inspiration from all sorts of experiences, including working through emotions, which most people can relate to. Picasso is undoubtedly one of the most influential artists, illustrated by his contribution and achievements through paintings.

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Early Life and Education

Picasso was born in 1881 in Malaga to Don Jose Ruiz y Blanco and Maria Picasso y Lopez. According to the traditional Andalusian custom, the baptized name is relatively lengthy because it honors various relatives and saints (“Pablo Picasso,” n.d.). Picasso’s father was a painter and professor of art who was fascinated by his son’s ability to draw from an early age. At the young age of seven, Ruiz began giving Picasso formal art training through copying masterpieces and drawing using models. At ten years, Picasso’s father was hired as a professor of art at the School of Fine Arts in A Coruna. The family lived in A Coruna for four years, where Picasso advanced his painting skills and techniques (McCully, n.d.). At thirteen years old, Picasso had already shown extraordinary passion and skills in painting, which impressed his father, who admitted he had surpassed his skills. The family moved to Barcelona in 1895, where Picasso was admitted to an advanced art class. Three years later, he was sent to the Royal Academy of San Fernando, a prominent art school in Madrid. According to McCully (n.d.) Picasso disliked formal art training and opted to train himself by examining displayed paintings. At sixteen, he had already created the award-winning painting Science and Charity and the Portraits of Aunt Pepa, a striking depiction considered the best in Spanish history (Wilson, 2004). Picasso spent most of his adult life in France, with his works divided according to various periods when he developed various themes and expressions of art.

Contributions and Achievements

Cubism is one of the most notable styles of painting that was greatly attributed to Picasso. Picasso and Georges Braque created the visual art style in Paris between 1907 and 1914. The main aim of the visual art movement was to deconstruct the traditions of perception characteristic of Renaissance art (McNeese, 2006). Instead, Picasso and Braque developed a form of art that focused on displaying multiple views of objects on a single canvas to convey more messages in the same illusionistic view (McCully, n.d.). The earliest form of Cubism, known as analytical Cubism, emphasized the re-presentation of object forms and their position in space instead of imitation through illusion and perception (“Pablo Picasso,” n.d.). The analytic process of fracturing objects and shadows, lights, color, and space became the main features of Picasso’s works from 1909. Wilson (2004) points out that Picasso successfully merged objects, figures, and space on a specific grid with a palette limited by monochromatic ochres. Braque and Picasso later developed a second form of Cubism, known as synthetic Cubism, playing a pivotal part in the Western art sphere. Subsequently, they developed the technique of Collage, which emphasizes the various texture variances and differentiates reality from illusion in painting. With the usage of shape, geometry, and color, Picasso’s revolutionary techniques changed the direction of art tremendously.

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Besides the Cubism period, Picasso made numerous contributions through various periods. The blue period was between 1901 and 1904, characterized by abject poverty and its impact on society. Picasso’s works during this time depict undernourishment and prostitution, shown by self-colored shades of blue and blue-green (McNeese, 2006). An example is the melancholy emblematic La Vie painting in 1903, showing his friend’s psychological torment after an attempted murder. The Old Guitarist is also an influential piece from the Blue Period (“Pablo Picasso,” n.d.). The proceeding period, the Rose period between 1904 and 1906, was a cheery time depicting optimistic paintings of Picasso’s lover. Les Demoiselles d’Avignon is one of the most famous pieces completed in 1907 and shown publicly in 1916 (“Pablo Picasso,” n.d.). Picasso continued to make distinct pieces that encountered various movements, such as Surrealism and Neoclassicism, influencing the change of direction of art.

Overall, Pablo Picasso is one of the greatest artists of the 20th Century, whose influence continues to revolutionize art. His works were a mixture of numerous styles and techniques he embraced throughout his life. Through varied styles, Picasso’s classical works and paintings not only influenced art during his lifetime but also after his demise, as witnessed in contemporary art. As a revolutionary and traditional artist, Picasso’s art was unique as his career spanned over seven decades of mastery and influence. Picasso is respected not only among his peers but also across the globe for creating numerous pieces that have revolutionized how art is presented and interpreted.

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  1. McCully, M. (n.d.). Pablo Picasso. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Pablo-Picasso.
  2. McNeese, T. (2006). Pablo Picasso. Infobase Publishing.
  3. Pablo Picasso and his paintings. Pablo Picasso: 150 famous paintings, bio & quotes by Picasso. (n.d.). https://www.pablopicasso.org/.
  4. Wilson, M. (2004). From obsession to betrayal: The life and art of Pablo Picasso. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity11(3), 163–182.
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