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ARTIST HERO:
PABLO PICASSO
by Ruth from Orem

Blue Guitar (Art Institute of Chicago)
Pablo Picasso was born Pablo Ruiz in 1881 in Malaga, Spain. He later adopted his mother's maiden name to become Pablo Picasso. Although he was born in Spain, he lived most of his life in Paris, France. Pablo is considered to be the most important artist of the 20th century. His experiments with a wide range of styles and themes led to his influences on collage, cubism, and assemblage. He is most known for his Blue and Rose Periods and cubism.

1901 was the marker for the beginning of Picasso's "Blue Period." For three years, Pablo focused on nothing but using shades of blue and harsh black outlines in his work. All of his paintings in this period depict forlorn figures that represent lowliness. His most famous piece from this time is The Old Guitarist. This piece, like so many of his others, emphasizes poverty and social outcasts.

In 1904, Picasso changed his color scheme to pinks and reds, also known as the "Rose Period." He was still hung up on displaying social outcasts, but he turned to portraying circus performers, perhaps because he empathized with them. Circus folk, like artists, were paid to entertain society, but because of their social status, were unable to become a part of that lifestyle. One of his works, Two Acrobats and a Dog, show two acrobats that are physically close, but have very different heights and are looking in different directions. They do not interact. Dogs were frequent subjects in his paintings and it is said that it may have been a reference to death.

Pablo Picasso is famous for his work with cubism. Most relate him to disfigured faces, but that was not the first kind of cubism that Pablo worked with. He began with analytical cubism. He would create landscape paintings using simple geometric shapes. He made his canvasses seem more unified, but because of the inconsistent light sources he used, his work leaves spectators wondering whether angles are convex or concave. 1912 was when he started working with synthetic cubism. He combined abstract shapes to form human figures and Still Lifes. He didn't use just paint either. This is when the art of collage really came around. Picasso used sheet music, wallpaper, and newspapers in his artwork for texture.

Guernica (pbs.org)

Cubism and his Blue and Rose Periods were not all that inspired Pablo Picasso. He also had formative work. More of his "periods" included Classical, Iberian, and African. But, his most famous painting is probably Guernica. Pablo had been commissioned by the Spanish government to create a mural. The news of a Nazi bombing in Guernica, Spain was his motivation. His mural represents brutality and darkness along with the Spanish people and air warfare. The distorted figures express the inhumanity of the bombing.

Pablo Picasso died at the age of 92 in 1973 in Paris, France. He was the most influential artist of the 20th century. His cubist movement inspired many others. There was futurism in Italy, suprematism and constructivism in Russia, de Stijl in the Netherlands, vorticism in England, and German expressionism. Who would've thought that his life of poverty and depression could impact and influence so many others?


Written by Ruth from Orem
Last changed on: 7/28/2014 5:29:12 PM

Pablo Picasso His artworks, quotes, and biography

Pablo Picasso Olga's Gallery

Cernuschi, Claude. "Picasso, Pablo Ruiz y". Microsoft Encarta

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