Pablo Ruiz Picasso was born on the 25th October, 1881 in Malaga in Spain. He was the first son of Jose Ruiz y Blasco and Maria Picasso y Lopez. His father was a painter and a professor of art at the School of Crafts and the curator of a local museum. Picasso learnt the basics of art from his father. Picasso also attended the Academy of Arts in Madrid, but dropped out within a year of joining it.
He made his first trip to Paris in 1900 and loved the city. He lived with a friend who was a journalist and a poet. Those were hard times for Picasso and he burned many of his paintings to keep himself warm. In 1901, Picasso started a magazine called ‘Arte Joven’ in Madrid with his friend Soler. He completely illustrated the first edition of the magazine. It was at this point that he began to sign his paintings as simply ‘Picasso’ rather than ‘Pablo Ruiz y Picasso’. All the paintings by Pablo Picasso are usually classified into various ‘periods’ based on the moods and styles of the paintings. These, in turn, were largely affected by his personal and love life. His real work and career as a painter is said to begin around 1894 with a painting called ‘The First Communion’ which showed his sister Lola, and the more famous painting by Pablo Picasso called ‘Portrait of Aunt Pepa’. In 1897, his realistic style of painting became influenced by Symbolism and came across in a series of landscapes where he used violet and green tones in the colors. From 1899 to 1900 was a period where Picasso was creating paintings in a Modernist style which emerged due to his influence and exposure to the works of Rossetti, Edward Munch etc. 1901 to 1904 is called Picasso’s Blue Period because many of his paintings in that time were in the shades of blue and blue-green. The subjects of these paintings were prostitutes and beggars. Some of the famous paintings by Pablo Picasso during this period were ‘La Vie’, ‘The Blindman’s Meal’ and a portrait called ‘Celestina’. An etching called the ‘Frugal Repast’ also reflected his somber mood of the time. Blindness and destitution were an integral part of this theme of paintings. It was also during this time, that he began using the image of a harlequin, in checkered clothing, as his personal motif in his paintings. The 1905 to 1907 is called Picasso’s Rose Period where his paintings became cheerful with the use of orange and pink colors. There were many harlequins also featured. 1907 to 1909 is called his African Influenced Period where his drawings were inspired by African artifacts. A good example of this period is his painting titled ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’. 1909 to 1912 is called Picasso’s Analytic Cubism Period. This style of painting was developed along with Georges Braque and was characterized by the use of monochrome brown colors. He took the objects apart and analyzed them within the medium of his paintings. 1912 to 1919 is called Picasso’s Synthetic Cubism Period where he began to use collage in his art. He would add paper fragments of wallpaper or newspaper pages and paste them into his work. During the 1930s he returned to a more neo-classical style of painting. Another major change was the use of the Minotaur as his motif, rather than the harlequin in his paintings. His famous painting called ‘Guernica’ depicted the brutalities, and the hopelessness induced by war. In the 1950s he started reinterpreting the works of great masters, including Velazquez, Goya, Manet and Delacroix. In 1967, the Chicago Picasso was unveiled. A huge 50 foot sculpture made on abstract themes defies interpretation. It could be a woman, or a bird or a horse or quite simply anything. Picasso did not take the $100,000 payment offered for it, but donated it all to the people of the city. From 1968 to 1971 he produced several paintings and copperplate etchings in the style now known as neo-expressionism. When these paintings were made, they were dismissed by critics as being the ‘pornographic fantasies of an old man’ and the ‘incoherent scribbling of a frenetic old man’. Death of Picasso Pablo Picasso died on the 8th of April, 1973 while he and his wife Jacqueline were entertaining friends for dinner. His last words were: ‘Drink to me, drink to my health, you know I can’t drink anymore.’ Cubism During the early days of cubism historians attributed the creation of cubism to one man: Pablo Picasso. Now we know that he has to share to honor with Georges Braque. Braque had studied Cézanne's method of representing three dimensions as seen from several viewpoints, in the same year (1907) that Picasso created his Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. In this painting Picasso depicts human figures by making use of several viewpoints, which became one of the characteristic features of cubism. Arriving at the concept of depicting an object as seen from different viewpoints independently, Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque soon became good friends and went on to develop the visual language of cubism in close cooperation, an alliance that Picasso would sometimes call a marriage. Les Demoiselles d'Avignon represents Picasso's époque negre which was inspired by African art and overlaps the first phase in cubism, which is called analytical cubism. Analytical cubism lasted until 1911 and is characterized by monochrome, relatively unemotional paintings that depict rather uneventful subjects, such as still lives. Many paintings of analytical cubism are faceted (see for instance Georges Braque's "Mandola", below), a technique that allows the artist to disect and reconstruct his subject in a way that depicts it's essence rather than it's appearance. Although largely abstract, the faceted technique still produces a recognizable image of the subject. It is important to fully realize the importance of cubism. It isn't just "Picasso's style" but marks the real beginning of abstract art. Picasso's predecessors, such as the impressionists, the fauvists and Cezanne were still principally tied to nature as a model to elaborate on. With Les Demoiselles d'Avignon Picasso reached a level of abstraction that was a radical enough break with the classical dominance of content over form, a hierarchy which is reversed in Les Demoiselles d'Avignon and the style which followed from it: Cubism.
Painting Title Self Portrait 1907
Pablo Picasso Cubist Paintings