History of Pablo Picasso and his Art
Pablo Picasso was a Spanish painter and sculptor, generally considered the greatest artist of the 20th century. He was unique as an inventor of forms, as an innovator of styles and techniques, as a master of various media, and as one of the most prolific artists in history. He created more than 20,000 works. Picasso’s genius manifested itself early: at the age of 10 he made his first paintings, and at 15 he performed brilliantly on the entrance examinations to Barcelona’s School of Fine Arts.Family life.
Born in Malaga on October 25, 1881, Picasso was the son of Jose Ruiz Blasco, an art teacher, and Maria Picasso y Lopez. Until 1898 he always used his father’s name, Ruiz, and his mother’s maiden name, Picasso, to sign his pictures. After about 1901 he dropped “Ruiz” and used his mother’s maiden name to sign his pictures. His large academic canvas Science and Charity, depicting a doctor, a nun, and a child at a sick woman’s bedside, won a gold medal.
Between 1900 and 1902, Picasso made three trips to Paris, finally settling there in 1904. He found the city’s bohemian street life fascinating, and his pictures of people in dance halls and cafes show how he assimilated the postimpressionism of Paul Gauguin and the symbolist painters called the Nabis. The themes of Edgar Degas and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, as well as the style of the latter, exerted the strongest influence. Picasso’s Blue Room reflects the work of both these painters and, at the same time, shows his evolution toward the Blue Period, so called because various shades of blue dominated his work for the next few years. Expressing human misery, the paintings portray blind figures, beggars, alcoholics, and prostitutes, their somewhat elongated bodies reminiscent of works by the Spanish artist El Greco.Rose Period in Paris, Picasso met Fernande Shortly after settling Olivier, the first of many companions to influence the theme, style, and mood of his work. With this happy relationship, Picasso changed his palette to pinks and reds; the years 1904 and 1905 are thus called the Rose Period. Many of his subjects were drawn from the circus, which he visited several times a week; one such painting is Family of Saltimbanques. In the figure of the harlequin, Picasso represented his alter ego, a practice he repeated in later works as well. Dating…
…new liaison during the 1940s with the painter Francoise Gilot who bore him two children, Claude and Paloma; they appear in many works that recapitulate his earlier styles. The last of Picasso’s companions to be portrayed was Jacqueline Roque, whom he met in 1953 and married in 1961. He then spent much of his time in southern France.
Late Works: Recapitulation
Many of Picasso’s later pictures were based on works by great masters of the past?Diego Velazquez, Gustave Courbet, Eugene Delacroix, and Edouard Manet. In addition to painting, Picasso worked in various media, making hundreds of lithographs in the renowned Paris graphics workshop, Atelier Mourlot. Ceramics also engaged his interest, and in 1947, in Vallauris, he produced nearly 2000 pieces.
Throughout Picasso’s lifetime, his work was exhibited on countless occasions. Most unusual, however, was the 1971 exhibition at the Louvre, in Paris, honoring him on his 90th birthday; until then, living artists had not been shown there. In 1980 a major retrospective showing of his work was held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Picasso died in his villa Notre-Dame-de-Vie near Mougins on April 8, 1973.