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Pablo Picasso
A Famous Artist


Pablo Ruiz Picasso was born in Málaga in1881.  'Pablo' means 'Paul' in Spanish.  His full name was very long indeed!  According to his baptismal certificate it was -
Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Crispiniano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz Picasso.

The last two names - Ruiz Picasso - were his surnames.  In Spain,  it is the tradition to have two surnames.  The first surname was his father's and the second surname was his mother's.  

Pablo's father was an artist and a teacher of Art.  His mother was part Italian (Picasso was her Italian surname).  She claimed that her son's first spoken word was lápiz  - 'pencil' in Spanish.

Pablo's first known painting is called Picador and it was created when he was around 8 or 9 years old.  It portrays a man on horseback in the bullfighting arena.  He was inspired to create it after a visit to a bullfight with his father. 

The pictures below show his first known painting Picador and a photo taken in 1889 with his sister Lola, around the same period that he created Picador.


When Pablo's father saw what a great artist his young son was, he felt too embarrassed to call himself an artist any more and declared that he would never paint again!  Instead, he gave all his paintbrushes and materials to the young Pablo.

Pablo studied art in Madrid at the Academia de San Fernando, but he never finished the course.  Instead, he moved to Paris in 1900 where, at first, life was hard.  It is said that, on occasions, Pablo used his paintings as firewood to heat up his lodgings.  Nevertheless, he settled into the artistic life of Paris and had a large group of artistic friends. 

He spent most of his life in France, so he learned to speak French.  This is why his paintings have French names. 

From 1901, Pablo began to sign his paintings simply 'Picasso'.  Previously he had signed them with Pablo Ruiz y Picasso and Pablo R. Picasso.

Pablo married his first wife Olga Khokhlova in 1918.  She was a Russian ballerina.  He painted her portrait many times.  The most famous of her portraits is the one where she is  'sitting in an armchair.'  (Below)


His second wife was called Jacqueline Roque and she worked in the Madoura Pottery on the French Riviera.  In the pottery, Pablo Picasso's ceramic works were produced.  Jacqueline and Pablo remained married for the rest of his life.   Above is a portrait of Jacqueline 'holding a flower', painted by Pablo.

Pablo's work is divided into periods.  The Blue Period (1901 - 1904), The Rose Period (1905 - 1907), The African Period (1908 - 1909), The Analytic Cubism Period (1909 - 1912),  The Synthetic Cubism Period (1912 - 1919),  The Classicism and Surrealism Period (1918 - 1936.)

The Blue Period.  The colours used were mainly blue.  
(Portrait of Suzanne Bloch)


The African Period - inspired by African sculpture. Below- Les Demoiselles d'Avignon.


The Synthetic Cubism Period.  This is a form of collage.  Individual shapes are attached / stuck to the canvas to create one whole image.  The example below is called The Italian Girl.


The Rose Period.  The colours used were mainly pink and orange,   Below-
Garçon à la Pipe (Boy with a Pipe).  This painting was sold at auction in 2004 for the amazing sum of 104 million dollars!


The Analytic Cubism Period.  Using brownish colours, objects are analysed first, to see individual shapes within them.  The individual shapes are painted separately to create a whole object or scene. The example below is called The Guitarist  - Le Guitariste.


The Classical Period.  During this period, Pablo Picasso produced more traditional works of art. Below is a Mother and Child.


The Surrealism Period.  Picasso produced surprising and distorted interpretations. 
Below is A Woman With A Flower.


Pablo Picasso also created sculptures.  One of his most famous sculptures is a fifty-foot high shape in Chicago.  Nobody knows what the shape is intended to be.  This sculpture is referred to as the Chicago Picasso.
(Photo by J. Crocker)


Pablo Picasso made some very interesting comments during his lifetime.  Here are just a few of the things that he said:-

1.  "All children are artists.  The problem is how to remain an artist once you grow up."

2.  "I paint objects as I think them.  Not as I see them."

3.  "It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but it took me a lifetime to paint like a child."

4.  "Painting is just another way of keeping a diary."

Pablo Picasso died on 8 April, 1973, aged 91 years.  He produced more works of art than any other artist.  He was laid to rest in the grounds of Château Vauvenargues - a lovely castle in the South of France that he had purchased in 1958.

It has been estimated that he produced around 50,000 pieces of art during his lifetime - paintings, drawings, sculptures, ceramics and prints.


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