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Artist Pablo Picasso is well-known for his impressive artworks among them abstract paintings such as “Guernica”. There are many museums all over Europe in cities like Paris, France and Barcelona, Spain which devote entire displays just on the art of Picasso. His paintings and artwork can cost more than $100 million at auctions. The artist died on April 8, 1973.
Picasso was born on the southern coast of Spain in Malaga in 1881. Supposedly before he could speak he was already drawing. He apparently could draw better than his father, an art teacher when he reached 13 years of age. It was around this time that Picasso was ready to apply to an art school in Barcelona. All students were given a month to complete the entrance examination but Picasso completed this in one day. The artist stated that he could draw “like Raphael” when he was young but that it took him a whole life long to learn how to draw like a child.
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While he was still a teenager Picasso would paint realistic portraits and landscapes. From 1901 – 1906 the artist went through his blue and rose periods and during this time he painted poverty-stricken children and circus scenes. One of Picasso’s most revolutionary artworks is a distorted portrait of five prostitutes titled “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” painted in 1907. This particular painting opened the door to the art style Cubism, which is an abstract style that reduces subjects to geometric forms. The artist went on to invent collage in 1912. Doing collage he attached different materials to his paintings such as newspaper clippings and oilcloth. There was an increased emphasis put on color and this brought about a transition from Analytic Cubism to Synthetic Cubism. Later on in his life, Picasso practised a form of neo-Classicism and recreated the painting of other great masters like Edouard Manet, Diego Velazquez and Eugene Delacroix. He also brought other styles into his art such as Surrealist, Expressionist, Post-Impressionist and Symbolist.
Creation of Cubism
Picasso led a Bohemian type of life and his friends included other artists and writers among them Henri Matisse, Gertrude Stein and Max Jacob. He co-founded Cubism with Georges Braque around 1909. At this time the paintings done by Braque were similar to those done by Picasso. Both Braque and Picasso were influenced by Iberian sculpture, African masks and Post-Impressionist painter Paul Cezanne.
More Than a Painter
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Picasso was best known for his paintings however he also liked to experiment with other forms of art such as sculpture, ceramics, drawing and printmaking. He designed the curtain, sets and costumes for some ballets from 1917 to 1924. The earliest of his ballet designs “Parade” featured a dancer who later on became Picasso’s first wife and the mother of his first child. In 1935 the artist started writing poetry and wrote two plays in the 1940s.
Opposing Spanish Dictator Francisco Franco
In July of 1936, the Spanish Civil War started and military officers who were led by Francisco Franco began revolting against the democratically elected Second Republic. At this time Picasso, who was a Republican supporter, completed a series of anti-Franco etchings. The artist expressed his feelings by saying that the military caste was “plunging Spain into an ocean of misery and death”.
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One of his most notable paintings is “Guernica” painted for the 1937 World’s Fair in Paris, France. The painting was inspired by an incident in which Nazi German planes that were flying for Franco bombed the civilians living in the town of Guernica. In his painting, Picasso depicts a wounded horse, a decapitated soldier, a woman with a dead baby in her arms and other horrific images of war. “Guernica” is an enormous painting over 25 feet in length and could be found at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City during the Franco years. The painting was returned to Spain in 1981 and can be seen at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid.
Being an Expat
Picasso left Spain for the first time in 1900 and stayed for a longer time in Paris, France. He moved to Paris permanently in 1904 and never lived in Spain again. Picasso remained in Paris even during WW II when Nazis barred him from showing his artwork. He later moved to southern France and remained there the rest of his life.
The Most Stolen Paintings
Picasso paintings have been reported stolen, missing or disputed many more times than the artwork of other artists. Picasso paintings have been stolen from Dutch, Greek and French museums.