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Pablo Picasso’s Full Biography

About Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso was considered one of the most influential artists of his time. He was a Spanish sculptor, painter, ceramist, stage designer, and printmaker. Pablo Picasso is actually credited with the creation of cubism, along with Georges Braque. 


Picasso’s younger self 

Pablo was born in Spain (Malaga) on October 25 in the year 1881. He was born to Hispanic parents Maria Picasso y Lopez, and father, Ruiz Blasco, who was an art teacher and painter. Picasso’s full name is fairly long, Pablo Diego Jose Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno Maria de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santisima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Ruiz y Picasso. 


Pablo was a fairly world-weary and serious child who possessed piercing, watchful black eyes that, in a way, marked him for greatness. He recalled a time when he was younger when his mother said to him, “If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general. If you become a monk, you’ll end up as the pope, “Later in life, as he thought of this statement he mentioned, “Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.”


Picasso was a fairly bad student, but despite this he ended up displaying a talent for drawing at a very early age. Apparently, when he was a child, his first words were “Piz, Piz” his attempt at saying lapiz, which is the Spanish word for pencil. 


Picasso’s education

Picasso’s father started teaching him how to paint and draw as a child. By the point when he reached the age of 13, his skill had already passed that of his father’s. At a certain point he lost interest in school completely and spent all of his school days doing drawings in his notebook. 


Picasso got punished for being a “bad” student and was banished to the calaboose, a cell with a bench. He didn’t mind the time that he spent there though because it gave him ample time to work on his drawings. 


When Pablo was 14 years old, he and his family moved to Barcelona, Spain, a place where he immediately applied to a prestigious fine arts school. Even though the school usually only accepted students who were much older than he, Picasso did so well on the entrance exam that they made an exception and he was allowed in. 


Despite the exception that was made Pablo still disliked the rules that the school had and began skipping class so that he could explore the streets of Barcelona and sketch scenes of things he saw there. He then moved to Madrid to attend the Royal Academy in San Fernando. Even though this was a different school he still developed a disdain for the school’s rules and the singular focus it had on classical techniques and subjects. 


It was during this time when he wrote a letter to a friend stating that the school, he attended always said the same things over and over. It was around this time when he started skipping school again to find new objects to paint and draw. 


In the year 1899, Pablo decided to move back to Barcelona and soon started hanging out with a crowd of intellectuals and artists who regularly met at the El Quatre Cats cafe. 


Pablo was inspired by the radicals and anarchists that he met while in Barcelona and this was when he made the stern decision to move from the classical way of painting that he’d been taught to a period of experimentation and innovation. 


Picasso’s Paintings

Picasso constantly reinvented himself, something that he is still known for to this day. He constantly switches between styles, something that makes it seem as if his body of work is something that was made by 5 or 6 different artists rather than just by him. 


Pablo’s Blue Period

Art historians and critics usually break Pablo’s career into different periods, the first of these lasted from the years 1901 to 1904, his Blue Period. 


At the beginning of the 20th century, Picasso decided to go to Paris, France to start his own studio. Due to his loneliness and the depression that set in because of the death of one of his close friends he painted incredibly dark images depicting isolation, poverty, and anguish in shades of blue and green. 


The most famous paintings that Picasso had from his “Blue Period” were, “The Old Guitarist”, “La Vie”, and “Blue Nude”, 3 paintings that were finished in the year 1903. 


Picasso’s Rose Period

By the year 1905, Picasso had been able to come out of the depression that had set in during his Blue Period, and he began incorporating warmer colors into his works as a result of that. Colors such as reds, beiges, and pinks could now be seen in a number of his works. This is the beginning of what one would call the Rose Period. 


At the time he was madly in love with a model who went by the name of Fernande Olivier, as well as becoming well off due to the patronage of a well-known art dealer. During this time, he painted things such as “Gertrude Stein, Family at Saltimbiques, and Two Nudes. 


Picasso and Cubism

Picasso and his friend Georges Braque were the first ever people to coin the term cubism. Cubist paintings are those where the objects are broken into pieces and abstractly reconstructed, a means of highlighting each geometric shape and depicting them from several different viewpoints simultaneously. Cubism managed to shock the world via the destructive and creative nature of it. 

In the year 1907, Pablo painted something called Les Demoiselles d’Avignon2, the inspiration for and precursor to cubism. 


Pablo’s early earlier Cubist creations aka his Analytic Cubist pieces include “Bread and Fruit Dish on a Table”, “Three Women”, and “Girl with Mandolin”.


Pablo’s later works, otherwise known Synthetic Cubism are known for moving away from the typical artistic typicality's of the time. Paintings that fall into this category include “Car Player, “Three Musicians”, and “Still Life with Chair Caning”. 


Picasso’s Classical Period

Works made by Picasso from the years 1918 and 1927 are considered to be a part of his Classical Period, works that briefly returned Picasso to Realism. 


During this period Picasso grew more and more somber, and he became more preoccupied with depicting reality. The most interesting pieces made by Picasso during this period include The Pipes of Pan, Two Women Running on the Beach/The Race, and Three Women at the Spring. 


Picasso and Surrealism

From the year 1927 forward, Pablo got caught up in a new cultural and philosophical movement called surrealism. 


Picasso had a few well-known surrealist paintings but the most well-known one was made in 1937 and is called Guernica. This painting was a result of the disgust that Picasso felt after Nazi German Bombers dealt a horrific blow to the Basque town of Guernica. 


Picasso, Women, and Children

Picasso was a womanizer his entire life, and had a number of relationships with muses, prostitutes, mistresses, and girlfriends. 


Once, he got married to a ballerina who went by the name Olga Khokhlova in the year 1918 and they stayed together for a total of nine years, before eventually breaking up in the year 1927. They did, however, have a son together, Paulo. He then married once more to Jacqueline Roque. 


Picasso also had 4 children: Maya, Paulo, Claude, and Paloma. 


Picasso’s Death

Picasso ended up dying on April 8, in the year 1973 at the ripe old age of 91 in France. The reported cause of death is heart failure.


Stein, G. (1984). Picasso. Courier Corporation.

Walther, I. F., & Picasso, P. (2000). Picasso. Taschen.

Huffington, A. S. (1990). Picasso. Danmarks Blindebibliotek.

Gilot, F., & Lake, C. (2019). Life with Picasso. New York Review of Books.

Reviewed by an art historian and appraiser

For more information on artists go here

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