Picasso was an inventive artist who never used artworks from the past for inspiration.. The genius of the artist Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) has had a profound impact on the evolution of contemporary and modern art with a staggering scale.
His extensive output comprises more than 20000 prints, paintings, drawings, sculptures, theatre sets, and ceramics costumes that communicate a variety of social, political, intellectual and sexual messages.
His artistic styles transcend abstraction and realism, Cubism, Neoclassicism, Surrealism and Expressionism. Born in Malaga, Spain, in 1881, Picasso studied art briefly in Madrid in 1897. He later studied at Barcelona in 1899.
It was there that Picasso was closely associated with Modernist poets, writers, artists, and poets who met in Cafe Els Quatre Gats (The Four Cats), which included Picasso, who was the Catalan Carlos Casagemas (1880-1901).
He was a frequent visitor to Paris and Spain up to 1904, the work he created throughout the period of despair and desperation, prompted partly from the tragic death of his best friend, Casagemas.
Picasso’s paintings dating from late 1901 until around the middle of 1904, often referred to by his Blue Period, depict themes of loneliness, poverty, and despair.
In the painting The Blind Man’s Meal (50.188) in 1903, Picasso employs the bleak blues to delicately portray the lonely face of a man weighed down by his physical limitations while he holds a slice from bread on one side while he struggles to grab an empty pitcher in the other.
The corkscrew-like figures from El Greco (1540/41-1614) inspire the man’s deformed facial features.
Picasso relocated Picasso moved to Paris from 1904 to move to the artist’s quarter of Bateau-Lavoir, which was where he lived with bohemian writers and poets like Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918) and Max Jacob (1876-1944).
In the painting At the Lapin Agile (1992.391) in 1905, Picasso focused his focus on more pleasant subjects such as carnival performers, clowns, and harlequins.
This painting chose his own image of the harlequin and dropped the dark blues to make way for vibrant hues, such as red, for instance, to commemorate the performances of circus artists (categorically called the Rose Period).
In Paris there, he met loyal patrons in the American twins Gertrude (1874-1946) as well as Leo (1872-1947) Stein, whose Saturday evenings of salons in their residence at 27 rue de Fleurus was an incubator for contemporary creative and intellectual thinking.
The Steins met other artists who were working and living in Paris, which was generally called the Paris School, such as Henri Matisse (1869-1954).
In 1905-06, Gertrude Stein (47.106) illustrated Picasso’s growing interest in pre-Roman Iberian sculpture as well as African as well as Oceanic art.
Focusing on his intuition instead of pure observation and dissatisfied with the look of Stein’s face Picasso changed her appearance into a mask-like representation, influenced by primitivism.
The influence of African as well as Oceanic art is evident through his work Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907; Museum of Modern Art, New York), a painting that hints at the early phases of Cubism.
The figure arrangement here is reminiscent of Cezanne’s bathers’ compositions as well as stylistically strongly influenced by primitivism, as shown by the angular planes and the well-defined lines that form an overall sculptural structure in the characters.
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The fundamental principles that Analytic Cubism was founded on (1910-12) which is characterized by the fragmentation of three-dimensional shapes on a two-dimensional plane and embodied within Still Life with a Bottle of Rum that was created in 1911.
The methods for Analytic Cubism was formulated by Picasso as well as Braque, the French painter Georges Braque (1882-1963), who first met in 1907.
Picasso’s Bottle and Wine Glass on a Table of 1912 is one of the earliest examples of Synthetic Cubism (1912-14), the paper colle, in which Picasso pasted newsprints and coloured paper on canvas.
Picasso, as well as Braque, also utilized tactile elements like fabric as part of their Synthetic Cubist paintings and occasionally used the trompe l’oeil effect to give the impression of real objects and textures like that of the wood grain.
In the aftermath of World War I (1914-18), Picasso reverted to traditional styles and less experimented with Cubism.
In the 1920s, Picasso created a distinct form of classicism based on mythological imagery like minotaurs, centaurs, fauns and nymphs inspired by the classic world of Italy.
In the context of this new expression known as his period, he made images that were dedicated to motherhood in the wake of the arrival of his child Paulo at the age of 19 in 1921 (his first child of four from the three ladies).
The Woman in White of 1923 shows an unclothed woman in a classic toga-like white dress sitting peacefully in a contemplative position with her hair swept, exuding an ethereal lyricism and the calming feeling of motherhood.
At the end of the 20th century, Picasso employed techniques that helped create pictures that depicted disfigured and morphed figures.
In the painting Nude Standing by the Sea of 1929, Picasso’s model illustrates the traditional posture of a naked woman standing with her arms elevated; however, her body is enormously stretched out and disorganized.
In the 1930s, Picasso had turned to elegant colours and sinuous contours that suggest a general sensuality that was biomorphic.
He painted women with heads that droop and striking sensuality, with a new feeling of optimism and freedom most likely in the wake of his romance with a young lady (one of Picasso’s many lovers) known as Marie-Therese (1909-1977).
Reading at a Table from 1934 utilizes these expressive characteristics of bright colours and soft curves to depict Marie-Therese at a large table that emphasizes her youthfulness and innocence.
Though he was still living in France during the 1930s, Picasso was extremely upset with the start of the Spanish Civil War in 1936.
He reacted by creating a highly emotional series of images that included Dream and Lie of Franco, which culminated in the massive painting Guernica (1937; Reina Sofia National Museum, Madrid) that was created in grisaille in grey tones.
Picasso’s work for his contribution to Spanish Pavilion in the 1937 Exposition Universelle in Paris is a complex piece of a terrifying scale with layers of antiwar symbols protesting against the fascist regime, which was led by Generalissimo Francisco Franco.
From the late 1940s until the 1960s, Picasso’s imaginative enthusiasm never diminished. Being in south France, He was able to continue painting and craft ceramics and play with printing.
His fame in the world grew with massive exhibits held at London, Venice, and Paris in addition to exhibitions of retrospectives held in Tokyo during 1951 as well as Lyon, Rome, Milan as well as Sao Paulo in 1953.
An exhibition of his work in New York at the Museum of Modern Art in the year 1957 attracted a huge number of people’s attention attracting more than 100,000 visitors in the initial month.
This exhibition further bolstered Picasso’s popularity since private collectors and museums across America, Europe, and Japan sought to acquire his artworks.
With Faun with Stars from 1955, Picasso returned to the mythological themes he explored in his earlier images.
He was incorporating his own life experiences into his work to express his fascination with a love of a different kind and a young woman called Jacqueline Roque (1927-1986), who was his second bride of his in the year 1961 when he was seventy-nine.
Picasso represented himself as a faun looking calmly and coolly with maturity and knowledge at a nymph that plays her instrument towards the stars. The image embodies his captivating affection for Jacqueline.
In his 80s and nineties, Picasso created a huge amount of artwork and reaped the benefits of his financial successes, building his own fortune and an impressive collection of his own artwork as well as works of other artists.
Picasso died around 1973 and left behind a legacy of art that resonates all over the world.
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