Pablo Picasso was born on October 25, 1881, in Málaga, Spain. He was the first child of José Ruiz y Blasco, a painter and art teacher, and María Picasso y López, a seamstress. His full name was Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso, but he later adopted his mother’s surname as his artistic signature.
Picasso showed an extraordinary talent for drawing and painting from an early age. He received formal art education from his father and at various schools, where he often rebelled against the academic conventions. He moved to Barcelona in 1895, where he joined a group of avant-garde artists and writers. He made his first trip to Paris in 1900, the cultural capital of Europe at the time, and settled there in 1904.
Picasso’s artistic career spanned more than seven decades, during which he created more than 20,000 artworks, including paintings, sculptures, prints, ceramics, and stage designs. He constantly explored new ways of expressing his vision and emotions, breaking the boundaries of traditional art forms and creating new ones. He was also influenced by various artistic movements and cultures, such as African art, Iberian art, Primitivism, Fauvism, Expressionism, Cubism, Neoclassicism, Surrealism, and Abstract Expressionism.
Picasso was not only a master of art, but also a master of life. He was a charismatic and flamboyant personality, who enjoyed fame and fortune. He was also a passionate and complex man, who had many affairs and marriages with women of different ages and backgrounds. Some of them were also his artistic partners, such as Fernande Olivier, Olga Khokhlova, Marie-Thérèse Walter, Dora Maar, Françoise Gilot, and Jacqueline Roque. He had four children: Paulo (with Olga), Maya (with Marie-Thérèse), Claude and Paloma (with Françoise).
Picasso died on April 8, 1973, at the age of 91, in Mougins, France. He left behind a legacy that has influenced generations of artists and changed the course of art history. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest artists of all time, and one of the most iconic figures of the 20th century.
Picasso’s Style and Influence
Picasso had an eclectic attitude to style, and although he usually followed a dominant approach at any given time in his career, he often moved interchangeably between different styles - sometimes even in the same artwork3. His style can be broadly divided into six periods:
The Blue Period (1901-1904)
- This period is characterized by the use of monochromatic blue tones to create somber and melancholic scenes of poverty, alienation, and despair. Some examples are The Old Guitarist (1903), La Vie (1903), and The Tragedy (1903).
The Rose Period (1904-1906)
- This period is marked by the use of warmer colors such as pink, red, and orange to depict more cheerful subjects such as circus performers, acrobats, harlequins, and lovers. Some examples are Family of Saltimbanques (1905), Boy with a Pipe (1905), and Gertrude Stein (1906).
The African-influenced Period (1907-1909)
- This period is influenced by African art, especially masks and sculptures from sub-Saharan Africa, which Picasso saw at the ethnographic museum in Paris. He incorporated geometric shapes, angular forms, and distorted features to create a new way of representing the human figure. Some examples are Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907), which is considered a milestone in modern art, and Three Women (1908).
- This is the most innovative and influential period of Picasso’s career, in which he co-founded Cubism with Georges Braque. Cubism is a radical art movement that challenged the traditional perspective and representation of reality by breaking down objects into geometric shapes and facets, and reassembling them in a new way that shows multiple viewpoints at once. Cubism can be further divided into two phases: Analytic Cubism (1909-1912), which focuses on the analysis and fragmentation of forms, and Synthetic Cubism (1912-1919), which focuses on the synthesis and collage of different materials and textures. Some examples are Portrait of Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler (1910), Ma Jolie (1911-1912), and Still Life with Chair Caning (1912).
- This period is a return to a more realistic and classical style of painting, influenced by the post-war call for order and stability, and by Picasso’s admiration for the old masters such as Ingres, Velázquez, and El Greco. He also experimented with sculpture, creating monumental heads and figures in plaster and bronze. Some examples are Three Women at the Spring (1921), The Pipes of Pan (1923), and The Lovers (1923).
- This period is influenced by the Surrealist movement, which aimed to express the subconscious and irrational aspects of the human mind through dreams, fantasies, and symbols. Picasso used distorted forms, biomorphic shapes, and vivid colors to create expressive and emotional images that often reflect his personal life and relationships. Some examples are The Three Dancers (1925), The Kiss (1931), and Guernica (1937), which is his most famous and powerful political statement against the horrors of war.
Picasso’s influence was profound and far-reaching for most of his life. His work in pioneering Cubism established a set of pictorial problems, devices, and approaches, which remained important well into the 1950s. He also inspired many other artists and movements, such as Dada, Futurism, Constructivism, Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, and Conceptual Art. He is widely recognized as one of the most original and influential artists of the 20th century, who changed the way we see and understand art.
Picasso created thousands of artworks in various media, genres, and themes. Here are some of his most famous and representative works:
Blue Face Portrait 1957
Blind Minotaur Guided by a Young Girl in the Night 1933-34
Bathing on the Beach 1937
Ambroise Vollard 1909
Acrobat Leaning on his Elbow 1922
Tête de femme 1952
Seated Woman with a Straw Hat 1938
Femme dans un Rocking-Chair 1956
Woman with a Blue Collar 1941
Le Gourmet 1901
Horst Antes 1971
Composition Peasants 1906
Still Life with Lemon and Jug 1936
Buffalo Bill 1911
Bull Skull, Fruit, Pitcher 1939
Bust of a Reclining Woman 1970
Bust of a Woman in a Blue Dress Necklace 1943
Bust Of A Woman In A Striped Hat 1939
Buste de Femme 1940
Buste de Femme Endormie III 1970
Buste de Femme Juin-Juillet 1907
Dame in Blau Paris 1901
Dans la Loge (Portrait de Jane Avril) 1901
Die Küche 1948
Dora Maar with Green Fingernails 1936
Earthenware Hand Painted Plate 20th
Female Figure in a Hat, Seated on a Chair 1938
Femme Accoudee 1921
Femme Assise 1909
Femme Au Bouquet 1909
Femme lancant Une Pierre 1931
Femmes à la Toilette 1956
Figure (Seated Woman) 1930
Glass, Pipe and Tobacco Pack 1919
Goat with Shepherd Playing Flute 1906
Harlequin Head 1962
Harlequin Musician 1924
Head of a Man 1972
Head of a Man with a Pipe 1969
Head of a Woman 1907
Head of a Woman 1924
Head of a Woman Reading 1953
Jacqueline lisant 1964
Jacqueline with Hands Crossed 1954
La Coiffure Close Up 1906
La Femme au Stylet 1931
La Gommeuse 1901
Le dejeuner sur l'herbe 1961
Le Peintre II 1963
Lying Woman 1946
Man with Straw Hat and Ice Cream Cone 1938
Mère et Enfant 1907
Musketeer and Seated Nude 1967
Naked Woman Lying with Necklace 1932
Nude in a Black Armchair 1932
Nude, Green Leaves and Bust 1932
Olga in Mantilla 1917
Paloma and Her Doll 1952
Paysage Mediterraneen 1952
Pernodflasche mit Glas 1912
Personnage a la Pipe 1971
Play Flute 1932
Portrait de Marie-Therese 1932
Portrait of a Woman 1940
Portrait of a woman in profile 1962
Portrait of Lee Miller 1937
Portrait of Lee Miller 1938
Portrait of Nusch Eluard 1937
Profil Droit 1933
Reading (Marie Thérèse Walter) 1932
Reclining Nude 1932
Reclining Nude and Man Playing the Guitar 1970
Rest (Marie-Teresa Walther Olga Khokhlova) 1927
Seated Nude 1969
Seated Woman (Portrait of Marie-Therese) 1937
Seated Woman 1908
Seated Woman 1938
Seated Woman in a Suit Geneviève Laporte 1951
Seated Woman Resting on Elbows 1939
Seated Woman with Hat 1939
Sitting Woman (Dora Maar) 1941
Smiling Woman 1901
Still Life with Blue Guitar 1924
Stilleben mit Kochtopf 1945
Summer landscape 1902
Taureau Mourant 1934
Tête de Femme (Dora Maar) 1937
Tete de Marie Therese 1932-34
The art dealer Clovis Sagot 1909
The Artist's Sister 1899
Pablo Picasso The Embrace 1963
The Kiss 1967
The Painter and His Model 1971
The Sailor 1938
The Weeping Woman 1937
Three Figures under a Tree 1908
Verre et pichet 1944
Watermelon Eater and Man Writing 1965
Weeping Woman with Handkerchief 1937
Woman in a Multicolored Hat 1939
Woman in an Armchair 1948
Woman in Green Dress 1937
Woman in Green Hat and Brooch 1941
Woman in hat and fur collar 1937
Woman in the Armchair Portrait of Françoise Gilot 1946
Woman lying on cachou background 1938
Woman Reading 1953
Woman Seated and Sleeping 1947
Woman Seated in an Armchair 1939
Woman Seated in an Armchair 1948
Woman with a Blue Collar 1941
Woman with a Blue Hat 1939
Woman with a Fan 1908
Woman with a Hat 1938
Woman with a Yellow Hat (Dora Maar) 1939
Woman with Artichoke 1941
Woman with blue hat 1901
Woman with Fan 1909
Woman with her hair in a small bun 1904
Woman with Parasol Lying on the Beach 1933
Woman's Bust 1938
Women in Blue 1949
Yellow Sweater 1939
Young Woman with Mandolin 1932
Zwei Zecher 1933
Woman Seated in a Woven Armchair in Gray 1953
Still Life with a Pedestal Wood Mount 1931
Naturaleza Muerta con una Mandolina 1924
Pedro Mañach 1901
The Sculptor 1931
The Old Guitarist 1903
Girl with a Mandolin 1910
Who was Pablo Picasso?
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) was a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. He is known for co-founding the Cubist movement and for his contributions to Surrealism and Symbolism.
What is Picasso most famous for?
Picasso is most famous for his revolutionary art styles, particularly Cubism. Some of his iconic works include "Guernica," "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon," and "The Weeping Woman."
How many paintings did Picasso create?
Picasso created an estimated 50,000 artworks during his lifetime, which included paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and more.
Where can I see Picasso's art in person?
You can view Picasso's art in many prominent museums worldwide, including the Museo Picasso in Barcelona, the Picasso Museum in Paris, and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York.
What is the significance of "Guernica"?
"Guernica" is one of Picasso's most famous paintings, depicting the horrors of the Spanish Civil War. It is considered a powerful anti-war symbol and is displayed at the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid.
How did Picasso's art evolve over time?
Picasso's art went through various phases, including the Blue Period, Rose Period, Cubism, and Surrealism. His constant innovation and experimentation make his work diverse and fascinating.
Are there any famous quotes by Picasso?
Yes, one of his famous quotes is: "Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." This reflects his belief in nurturing creativity.
How can I determine the authenticity of a Picasso artwork?
To authenticate a Picasso artwork, consult a reputable art expert or appraiser. They will assess its provenance, signature, and other factors to confirm its authenticity.
What is the value of a Picasso painting today?
The value of a Picasso painting varies greatly based on factors like its rarity, provenance, and the specific work. Some of his pieces have fetched tens of millions of dollars at auctions.
Can I buy Picasso prints or reproductions?
Yes, you can purchase Picasso prints and reproductions. These are a more affordable way to enjoy his art at home, though they are not original works.
What is Picasso's influence on modern art?
Picasso's influence on modern art is immeasurable. He reshaped the art world by challenging traditional techniques and perspectives, inspiring countless artists to think beyond conventions.
How can I learn more about Picasso's life and art?
You can explore books, documentaries, and exhibitions dedicated to Picasso's life and work. These resources provide valuable insights into his incredible legacy.
Did Picasso receive any awards or honors during his lifetime?
Yes, Picasso received numerous awards and honors, including the Lenin Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
What is Picasso's legacy in the art world?
Picasso's legacy lies in his ability to transform and challenge art continually. His work continues to inspire and influence artists and art enthusiasts around the world.
What were some of Picasso's favorite subjects to paint?
Throughout his career, Picasso had several recurring themes, including women, animals, and mythological figures. These subjects are prominent in many of his artworks.
15 Most Iconic Pablo Picasso Paintings
|Blue Period (1901-1904)|
|1. The Blue Room||1901|
|2. La Vie||1903|
|3. The Old Guitarist||1903|
|Rose Period (1904-1906)|
|4. Les Noces de Pierrette||1905|
|5. Boy with a Pipe||1905|
|6. Family of Saltimbanques||1905|
|African Period (1907-1909)|
|7. Les Demoiselles d'Avignon||1907|
|8. Head of a Woman||1907|
|9. Seated Woman (Dora Maar)||1938|
|10. Woman with a Guitar||1910|
|11. Les Trois Danseuses||1925|
|12. Still Life with Guitar||1921|
|13. The Weeping Woman||1937|
|15. The Dream||1932|