“Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth” – Pablo Picasso
Quite possibly the most important individual in the 20th Century art movement, Spain’s Pablo Picasso garnered more attention, fans and critics than any other artist before him. His unique style and eye for artistic creation made him quite polarizing, but impossible to ignore.
Picasso was born in Malaga, Spain in 1881 and compiled a rather vast portfolio of works during his prolific career. When he passed away at age 91 in 1973, more than 22,000 pieces had been attributed to his name! Pablo had created a number of masterpieces in different formats including paintings, sculpture work and even a series of graphic design pieces. During his career, he contributed works to virtually every art form and movement that existed in the 20th century. Picasso did not just follow trends of the time though; he also co-founded cubism which is considered one of the most popular art movements of the time and his trademark.
Pablo Picasso’s artistic ability was recognized as early as age 15 when he was granted permission to enroll in the advanced class of art at the Royal Academy of Art in Barcelona, Spain. Upon returning from Paris in1901, Picasso released Child with a Dove. This work of art introduced the world to a style that would become uniquely his in years to come. Child with a Dove is one of Picasso’s earliest paintings, most likely completed at the age of 21.
His works are typically organized into periods, based on the style that compelled him during a particular period of time. The Blue Period from 1901-1904 exhibited very dark, somber and blue tones depicting a poor world. The Rose Period of 1904-1906 was characterized by lighter palettes and a jubilant vibe with circus themes.
Here are a few selected works of note:
Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907) – Many say that it was “as if the art world had collapsed” when this work first appeared due to known forms and representations being completely abandoned.
Paul in a Clown Suit (1924) – Picasso painted this character named Paul taking various roles such as a bullfighter, child playing and the boy in a clown suit you see in this work. This painting represents his Classical style where subjects were drawn from mythology.
Guernica (1937) – Considered by many to be the most famous work of Picasso’s illustrious career, Guernica acts as a political statement and immediate reaction to the Nazi’s brutal bombing practice on the town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. Tragedies of war and the suffering it causes to innocent civilians are portrayed here.
Don Quixote (1955) – The Spanish literary hero, his sidekick Sancho Panza, his horse Rocinante and his donkey Dapple along with several windmills and the sun are depicted in this sketch. The bold, scribbled lines are extremely prominent and defined in contrast to the plain white background.
The latter portion of Picasso’s career was more focused on graphic arts, ceramics and sculpture work. This represented a departure from the painting and etching works that dominated his early career. He also created notable variations on works originally created by other artists, such as Luncheon on the Grass by Edouard Manet.
Pablo Picasso is still regarded as one of the most revered artists of all-time because of his drive and passion to create distinct pieces. He never did follow art world trends or create derivative art. Instead he insisted on taking inspirations from favored artists of the past and incorporating them into something uniquely his own. In addition to a plethora of world famous pieces, Picasso was also one of the first artists to take steps toward modern art producing masterpieces in all of the art movements prominent in the 20th century art world.
I leave you with a quote that perfectly sums up why Picasso’s mindset lead him to constantly reinvent himself and never remain stagnant.
“To copy others is necessary, but to copy oneself is pathetic” – Pablo Picasso.
Written by Kristopher Hewkin