“Unlike in music, there are no child prodigies in painting. What people regard as premature genius is the genius of childhood. It gradually disappears as they get older. It is possible for such a child to become a real painter one day, perhaps even a great painter. But he would have to start right from the beginning. So far as I am concerned, I did not have that genius. My first drawings could never have been shown at an exhibition of children’s drawings. I lacked the clumsiness of a child, his naivety. I made academic drawings at the age of seven, the minute precision of which frightened me.” (Matayev)
Pablo Picasso was born on October 25, 1881. His full name was Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Crispiniano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz which according to Spanish tradition was the sequence of names of the honourable Saints and relatives of Picasso’s family. Picasso is the surname of his mother which he took as his father’s surname seemed to the painter too ordinary and primitive.
From the age of seven, Picasso took lessons from his father Jose Ruiz, who was a painter himself specialized in naturalistic depictions of birds and sometimes even let his little son finish some of the paintings. But one day when Jose Ruiz was drawing a still life and charged his thirteen year old son to finish the picture he was fascinated by his son’s technique that he gave up painting immediately.
The same year Pablo entered the School of Fine Arts in Barcelona. He easily passed the entrance examination preparation to which took him less than a week. There in Barcelona he made the first artistic friendships and allegiance, with Manuel Pallares, Carlos Casagemas and Jami Sabartes.
Three years later Picasso’s father and uncle sent the young artist to Madrid’s Royal Academy of San Fernando. In Madrid Pablo first saw the paintings Diego Velázquez, El Greco, Francisco Goya, and Francisco Zurbarán.
While he was studying in Madrid, Picasso made his first trip to Paris where he visited the Louvre in October 1900. The works of impressionists changed his vision of art completely and that was the beginning of the so called Blue Period of Picasso (1901-1904) when the blue and blue-green color prevailed in the paintings. The main themes of the paintings of this period were death, old age, poverty, melancholy and sadness. The main characters were old, blind people, beggars, prostitutes and alcoholics (“The Frugal Repast”, 1904, “The Blindman’s Meal”, 1903, “The Tragedy”, 1903).
The more optimistic and positive Rose Period came to take the place of the gloomy mood and feeling of despair. Pink and red became the dominant colors. The theme also changed. The funny harlequins, strolling musicians and actors and deft acrobats became the characters of the paintings of Rose Period (“The Acrobat and the young Harlequin”, “Actor’s family”, “The jester”, 1905). The real popularity came to the artist at the age of 25 and he even complained that the public believed blindly into his talent and could not evaluate his works properly.
The next period (1909 -1912) is called Cubism Period. Pablo Picasso moved toward abstraction and played with dimensions (“Still life with wicker chair”, 1911, “Violin and guitar”, 1912),
World War I changed everything: mood, vision of the world, style of the painting and the whole life of Picasso. Picasso’s pictures became somber and more realistic.
In 1916, the young poet Jean Cocteau introduced the famous Russian ballet impresario Diaghilev to Picasso. He wanted Picasso to make decorations for his ballet “Parade”. Picasso gave his consent and in 1917 went to Rome where he worked on decorations for “Parade”. There, Picasso met the young Russian dancer Olga Khokhlova with whom he fell in love. He proposed to her and after the performance in Barcelona she agreed to marry him.
After cubism, Picasso decided to change his style to the more traditional one and this period is known as his Classicist period (“The Lovers”, 1920, “The Pipes of Pan”, 1923).
The Surrealism movement was growing in popularity at that time, and Picasso was also influenced by it. His “Woman with Flower” (1932) was a portrait of Marie-Thérèse in the manner of Surrealism with distortion of proportions and deformations of details.
When the artist heard about the bombing of the undefended town Guernica in 1937 he decided to express his own thoughts about the tragedy. His big mural “Guernica” has remained a forceful reminder of the event. This large canvas embodies for many the inhumanity, brutality and hopelessness of war.
In 1944, Picasso made a decision to join the Communist Party. Picasso repeated publicly that the aim of his art was to fight like a revolutionary and be a weapon in a political struggle.
After the WWII in 1955, Picasso moved to the large villa “La Californie” that was situated near Cannes where he wanted to live till the end of his life. From the windows he had a view of the big beautiful garden, full of his sculptures. But soon “La Californie” had become a place of tourist attraction. A constantly increasing stream of admirers crowded around it and Picasso, who disliked public attention, had to move from the villa to Chateau Vauvenargues, near Aix-en-Provence.
Pablo Picasso died on April 8, 1973 when he was 92 years old.
There is a tendency to estimate Picasso’s art by evaluating only his painting, giving to his work as a sculptor the minor value and considering it almost as a hobby of the artist. However only after looking at his sculptures it is possible to estimate the creative force of this hardworking and inspired master.
Picasso has amazed the world with an abundance of the inventions though many of them are a little known as have been made of fragile, short-lived materials.
“The head of a bull” marks the beginning of rather successful period in Picasso’s creative life.
The general characteristic of the creativity of Pablo Picasso in the field of a sculpture leads to a conclusion that it was amazing as well as his painting. In his sculpture you can feel freedom from any norms and improvisation, it is far from the academic solemnity, so often inherent this to this kind of art.
The paintings of Pablo Picasso which were first presented in Spain and then in Paris could be seen now in many museums of the world such as Picasso Museum in Malaga, Spain, Musée Picasso, Paris, France, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA, The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA,
Galerie Rosengart, Lucerne, Switzerland, Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH, USA, Tate Gallery, London, UK, State Museum of New Western Art, Moscow, Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart, Germany, Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland, The State Hermitage Museum, St.Petersburg, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Tel Aviv Museum of Art and some others. Many of his pictures are in private collections.
During the last ten years of his life Picasso was extremely popular. Picasso became a celebrity, there were a lot of films, articles and television programs about him and the public wanted to know his every step. In his late works Picasso prefers the use of simplified imagery which turned the attention of the public away from him.
Through all his life Picasso was often compared to the other famous artists. Some of the paintings of Blue Period the people on which had long bodies resemble the early works of another Spanish painter El Greco whom Picasso really admired.
The technique of faceting which Picasso used during Cubism Period originated from Georges Braques with whom Picasso was also compared. Some painters find the similar features in the works of Picasso and Salvador Dali.
Pablo Picasso was the only painter of his time who introduced history into his art. He is still very popular and his paintings are invaluable. But people are still trying to get them at any price by paying huge sums of money or just steeling the paintings from the museums. Nowadays 547 works of Pablo Picasso are in search.