The life and work of Pablo Ruiz Picasso
Pablo Ruiz Picasso, commonly known as Pablo Picasso was one of the greatest and revolutionary artists of the 20th century. He was born in Malaga, Spain in 1881 but spent most of his adult life in France. He has created an astounding artwork including paintings, sculptures, mosaics, ceramics, graphic arts, stage designs along with poems and playwright. The artist has gained recognition in very early age and had become the most popular name in modern art, with a unique style of creation. He is also known for his significant contribution in introduction of Cubism and modern approach towards art (constructed sculpture, collage etc). In 1982, Picasso moved to La Coruna with his family and year after that he took admission in School of Fine and Applied Arts. From a very early age, Picasso was passionate about drawing and art. At the age of seven, he began receiving formal training in oil painting and figurative drawing from his father. When Picasso was 13, he created his first oil paintings that included portraits of his family. In 1895, the artist started exhibiting and selling his paintings on small scale.
In 1904, Picasso established a permanent studio in Paris, which soon became the popular gathering place for renowned artists, patrons and writers of the city. Paris was then considered as the world’s art capital.
The artist went through different phases of style in his entire career. The period from 1901 to 1904 was known as the Blue Period of Picasso. Almost all of his art works were presented in sober shades of blue; the colour tone is symbolic of struggle and sufferings in a society that artist witnessed during the initial years of the century. Two remarkable examples of Blue Period are Life (1903) and Old Guitarist (1903).
Soon Picasso adopted a new style of painting. For a year and half, he focused on featuring acrobats, harlequins and other circus performers. The period between 1904 and 1906 was known as Picasso’s Rose period. The artist featured more happy style; several happy relationships encouraged him to use orange and pink colours.
In 1906, the artist was inspired by African, Greek and Iberia art. His notable work Portrait of Gertrude Stein (1906) presents a mask-like abstraction which was influenced by Iberian sculpture. The period between from 1907 to 1909 was considered as Picasso’s African-influenced period. This inspiration resulted in the creation of one of the most revolutionary picture of artist’s entire career “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” (1907). This painting was Picasso’s first masterpiece that the new form of art to the world i.e. Cubist painting. The faces depicted in the picture are seen from both front and side positions at the same time. In 1908, Picasso painted various landscapes that were being made of little cubes. Musical instruments, pictures of friends and family as well as still life objects were Picasso’s favourite subjects.
From 1907 to 1911, the work of Picasso became more and more abstract. Some of the most celebrated examples of this period are 1909’s Fruit Dish, Portrait of Ambroise Vollard (1910), and Women with Guitar (1911-1912), also known as Ma Jolie.
Along with Georges Braque, Picasso started using letters and newspapers scrapes into their cubist paintings and thereby created a completely new form of art (the cubist collage). Still Life with Chair Caning, was artist’s first collage that was created by using cloths and canvas. Picasso also created various notable cubist sculptures. Fernande Olivier depicts Picasso’s skills in painting three dimensional pictures. In this phase of cubism, his work became flatter, bright, colourful that represented decorative patterns. The three Musician (1921) illustrates a classical expression of cubist paintings.
During the initial period of 1920’s, he made several realistic pictures of his new wife and their children. Picasso also made brutal convulsive pictures of women, which later interpreted as reflection of stress in his married life. During this period, the artist created monumental nudes and monsters that represented antiquity and delivered with specific agonized irony.
Guernica (1937) is also one of the most distinguished painting that depicts the destruction of the town of Guernica during the military revolt against the Spanish Government. This painting was entirely executed in white, black and grey shades that reflect pain, brutality and suffering that people faced during the civil war. It exposes warfare as an act of brutality and self-destruction. Guernica was on exhibit for many years in the Museum of Modern Art of New York. It was then returned to Spain in 1981 and was on display at Cason del Buen Retiro.
Throughout his lifetime, Picasso’s art works were exhibited on numerous occasions. Most strange of all was exhibition at Louvre, Paris in 1971 which honoured him on his ninetieth birthday. After a prolific life, the artist died at the age of 91 in 1973. In his career of 78 years, Picasso created more than 1300 of the paintings; 34,000 illustrations as well as 100, 000 engravings and prints.
The artist created more than 20, 000 artworks including paintings, graphics, sculptures as well as ceramics in his entire life and was one of the most prodigious artists in history. The discovery of Cubist painting represents the artist’s most important accomplishment in the history of 20th century art. His work has a major impact on paintings and other art works that are created today. His free spirit, non-judgmental attitude, as well as his eccentric yet creative style made him exceptional artist in history. Even today also, his works that represents incredible versatility attracts large number of art lovers from all over the world.