Pablo Picasso – A Giant in Art

Pablo Picasso
(1881 – 1973)

On October 25, 1881, famous Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer was born. He is considered as one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century and is widely 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 explore.

Pablo Picasso’s talent was early detected. At the age of seven he painted his first work on oil ‘Picador‘ showing a matador in the arena.  At 14 he attended the famous art academy ‘La Llotjia’. In this period he was mainly influenced by Spanish painters of the 17. century. At 19 he was able to perform his first solo exhibition with rather modest success, which caused him to go on a motivational trip to the capital of art – Paris, where he got in touch with the works of Edgar Degas or Pierre Bonnard.
It was his period of orientation, Picasso deeply admired the Catalan painters as well as painters form the so called Symbolism, he enjoyed English and Austrian paintings.

In 1901, after Picasso’s best friend Casagemas killed himself the well known blue period began and was characterized by its melancholy and was mainly interpreted as pure sadness even though critics very much enjoyed the new paintings. Very typical for these years is the painting Evocation (The Burial of Casagemas)‘. In the following rose period, the financial success finally set in, the paintings were not as sad and the color blue slowly lost its significance in Picasso’s works. 

In 1908 the period Picasso is now mainly known for began and lasted for 16 years.  The fist cubism period, the ‘analysic cubism’ was developed by Picasso along with Georges Braque and was characterized through brown and rather neutral colors taking apart certain objects. The synthetic cubism marked the first use of collages and depicted mostly paper cut fragments pasted into different compositions. 

Throughout World War II, the neoclassical period followed with its famous ‘Guernica’ about which the painter himself noted:  

It isn’t up to the painter to define the symbols. Otherwise it would be better if he wrote them out in so many words! The public who look at the picture must interpret the symbols as they understand them.

After World War II, Picasso changed styles again and dedicated himself to sculpturing and graphic reproduction in which he again focused on bullfight symbols, a traditional Spanish topic that has occupied him throughout his life.

Pablo Picasso was a generous artist who always had the need to re-invent himself. He was deeply admired by the famous Salvador Dalí, the author André Breton or Max Ernst who highly appreciated Picasso’s surrealistic works.

At yovisto, you can enjoy Francoise Gilot’s talk An Encounter with Picasso‘ at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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