Pablo Picasso 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 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 refine. Among his most famous works are the proto-Cubist Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907), and Guernica (1937), a depiction of the German bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.
Picasso showed a passion and a skill for drawing from an early age. According to his mother, his first words were “piz, piz”, a shortening of lápiz, the Spanish word for “pencil”. From the age of seven, Picasso received formal artistic training from his father in figure drawing and oil painting. Ruiz was an academic artist and instructor, who believed that proper training required disciplined copying of the masters. His son became preoccupied with art to the detriment of his classwork. The family moved to A Coruña in 1891, where his father became a professor at the School of Fine Arts. On one occasion, the father found his son painting over his unfinished sketch of a pigeon. Observing the precision of his son’s technique, Ruiz felt that the seven-year-old Pablo had surpassed him, and vowed to give up painting.
Was of a gentle and religious disposition, who also enjoyed painting; she would often sit by him while he painted. Roldán describes her as “kind, loving, and tolerant”. Picasso later commented on her: “My mother was my first teacher. She gave me a love of art”. When Picasso was eleven years old, his family moved again, this time to Barcelona. His father took a position at its School of Fine Arts, and Picasso enrolled in the advanced class. He studied under Miguel Fernández de Soto, a Spanish academic painter who introduced him to the study of classical art. At fourteen he painted Portrait of the Artist’s Father, a work that unexpectedly won first prize in a local art exhibition. Ruiz was so moved by his son’s talent that he gave up painting altogether.
Picasso was admitted to the Barcelona Academy of Fine Arts, the premier art school in Catalonia. At the time, the academy’s teaching style could be described as “academic”, meaning that its lessons consisted of formal lectures on anatomy and philosophy, with an emphasis on the masters of the past. This academic approach was not to Picasso’s liking, and he eventually left the academy. His departure from traditional education would prove to be one of the most important events in his life; it opened him up to new styles of art and the people who would shape his career.
In 1897, Picasso’s father died, which had a profound impact on the young artist. His father’s death marked the end of his traditional education and freed him to experiment with modern styles of art.
In 1900, Picasso settled in Paris, where he would live for the next seven years. At first, he struggled to make a living, and his early work was generally raw and immature. However, he soon found his footing and began to develop his unique style. His work began to attract attention, and he started to gain recognition as an important new artist.
In 1907, Picasso painted one of his most famous works, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. The painting caused a sensation when it was first shown, and its radical new style shocked and baffled the critics. However, it also marked a major turning point in Picasso’s career and signaled the beginning of his Cubist period.
Over the next few years, Picasso continued to experiment with Cubism, and his work became increasingly abstract. In 1912, he painted one of his most famous works, Guernica. The painting was a reaction to the bombing of the Spanish city of Guernica by German and Italian warplanes. The destruction of the city and the death of its civilians had a profound impact on Picasso, and the painting is widely seen as a condemnation of war.
In the years after World War I, Picasso’s style evolved once again, this time into what is known as his Classicism period. During this time, he returned to the more traditional subject matter and forms of expression.
In the 1930s, Picasso once again began to experiment with new styles and themes. He painted many works depicting the suffering of the Spanish people during the country’s Civil War. He also started to explore Surrealism, a movement that was then gaining popularity in Europe.
In 1937, Picasso painted one of his most famous works, Guernica. The painting was a reaction to the bombing of the Spanish city of Guernica by German and Italian warplanes. The destruction of the city and the death of its civilians had a profound impact on Picasso, and the painting is widely seen as a condemnation of war.
In 1939, Picasso relocated to France, where he would live for the rest of his life. His work from this period is generally considered to be some of his finest. In the years after World War II, he produced several major works, including his series of paintings known as the “War and Peace” cycle.
In the late 1940s, Picasso’s style began to change once again. He started to experiment with new techniques and materials, such as using newspaper collages in his paintings. He also began to explore different themes, such as myths, legends, and nature.
In the 1950s, Picasso’s health began to decline, and he became increasingly reclusive. However, he continued to work until his death in 1973.
Today, Picasso is widely considered to be one of the most important artists of the 20th century. His work had a profound impact on the course of modern art, and his legacy continues to influence artists all over the world.