Pablo Picasso

Born in Malaga, Spain in 1881 to artist and professor Don Jse Ruiz y Blasco and mother Maria Picasso y Lopez, Pablo Picasso is known as one of the foremost figures of modern art. After being trained at an early age by his father, Picasso went on to study art in Madrid and Barcelona in 1897 and 1899 respectively. He is known for inventing the Cubist art movement alongside Georges Braques, where subjects were analysed and depicted from various angles simultaneously. The movement became one of the most significant in the 20th century. Picasso also pioneered the art of collage, along with influencing the Surrealist movement.

Between 1901 and 1904, Picasso moved between France and Spain, during which he created his famed paintings from what is known as his Blue Period. His works from this time are characterised by the moody blue palette and dark themes like poverty, destitution and old age. He then settled in France and created paintings with more cheerful subjects like acrobats, clowns and other circus performers. Picasso was also heavily influenced by traditional African and Oceanic art along with artists such as Cezanne and Van Gogh and this helped him ultimately create Cubist artworks. The geometry and bold usage of colours of this art movement shaped several other influential art movements as well including Art Deco. 1912 also saw Picasso inventing collage art, bringing several different media such as wicker, newspaper clippings and wallpaper into his work.

His visit to Italy in 1917 would prompt the artist to start his experimental works that combined his modernist approach with the typical neoclassical style. He also paid homage to Classical paintings of Old Masters such as Manet and Rembrandt in later years, mixing the many styles he had experimented with throughout his illustrious career. In an oeuvre of over 20,000 artworks, Picasso shaped modern art as we know it today and left behind a magnificent legacy.

Some of Picasso’s famous paintings include Portrait of Gertrude Stein (1905) created during his Rose Period, an oil on canvas painting of the artist’s foremost patrons and friends. Another is Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907), depicting the influence of African and Iberian art on Picasso’s works. Guernica (1937) is one of his most famed paintings, executed after a Nazi bombing of the city took place and depicts the horrendous aftermath of war. His work Faun With Stars (1955) is another chronicling of his stylistic versatility, showcasing his fascination with graphic depictions of mythological figures during this time.

Several exhibitions and retrospectives of his work were held around the world including London, Paris, Tokyo, Milan, Rome, Venice and New York. His works are now housed in permanent collections in major museums globally including Musee Picasso, Paris; Museo Picasso, Malaga; Museum Ludwig, Cologne and Museum of Modern Art, New York. The artist passed away in 1973 in Mougin, France.

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