Pablo Picasso And His Art Work

Learn about Pablo Picasso and his fine art work. Picasso created over 50,000 works in his lifetime, in many different mediums.

In the Twentieth Century painting developed into an abstract and non-illusionistic style. In Art in the Western World, David M. Robb and J.J. Garrison say this is true in spite of the fact: the considerable amount of painting that occurred in this period which continues to adhere to the aesthetic of Renaissance realism. The image of objects conceived in a defined space no longer has power to move people as it once did, to stimulate their imagination or excite admiration. (Robb, David M. and Garrison J.J., Art in the Western World. Harper and Row: New York, 1963, P. 607)

As in most artistic periods, the artists accepted this change before the general-public. Therefore, this accounts for the success of the old realism style painters. Robb and Garrison say, "naturally this holds true for the artists of our century somewhat more than for the general public which is slow in responding to changes, especially to aesthetic innovations" (Robb, David M. and Garrison J.J., Art in the Western World. Harper and Row: New York, 1963, P. 607).

The Fauve--wild beasts--group were the first to experiment with the new style in which the time honored renaissance convention of space representation was often wholly abandoned for a flat two-dimensional treatment. These men--Matisse, Rouault, Marquet, Braque and others--were popularly discredited and called Fauves or wild beasts. (Robb and Garrison, P. 609)

Strong colors, and simplistic, distorted design characterized the group's work. They demonstrated the direction modern art would take in the twentieth century, but it was up to Pablo Picasso "to supply the basic grammar of modern art" (Robb and Garrison, P. 610). Picasso did not work with the Fauves, choosing instead to work on a variety of styles, as he would his entire career. Robb and Garrison said, "his early painting from 1901-1904, like La Vie, is characterized by saturation of blue color with a corresponding melancholy pathos" (Robb and Garrison, P. 610). The picture represents both Picasso's classical training, and a hint of what was to come in the future. In the picture, there is a renaissance style realistic drawing of a nude couple and a woman dressed in a robe holding a baby. The woman with the baby and the nude couple are standing on either side and in front of two paintings. The painting on top is less realistic than the drawings of the couple and the woman with the baby. It is more abstract drawing of a nude couple, sitting on a rock, and embracing. The painting on the bottom is an even more abstract drawing of a nude figure. The painting represents the changes Picasso was going through at the time. Picasso influenced our culture in many ways, politically, socially, and creatively.

Pablo Picasso was born in Malaga in 1881. He was the son of a respected art teacher. Thanks to his father's enormous influence at a young age, Picasso developed artistic skills quickly and was accepted into the Academy at Barcelona at age 14. Picasso advanced quickly and found school boring:

He painted his first great work, "Girl with Bare Feet" while studying at Barcelona. After two years of schooling, Picasso transferred for even for advanced tutelage. This did not hold Picasso's interest, so instead he spent much of his time in cafes and in brothels. Three years later, Picasso won a gold medal for his work, "Customs of Aragon". This work was displayed on exhibit in Picasso's home town. In 1901, Picasso set up a studio in the northern section of Paris known as Montmartre. Picasso had mastered traditional forms of art by now. ("Pablo Picasso"., accessed April 12, 1999)

Picasso was influenced by Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas, Vuillard, which can be noticed in his works at the time. "'Longchamp' and 'The Blue Room' are good examples of this change in Picasso's style" ( This represents a short period in Picasso's life, and soon began to develop his own methods. Picasso was greatly influenced by what was happening in his life and the world around him. This is eividenced in the fact that when illness struck Picasso in 1898 and he temporarily retired from the city and rested in the country. Upon his return, Picasso was distressed with modern art and proceeded to use his mother's maiden name. Picasso underwent a distressing part of his life for the next 4 years (1901-1904) and demonstrated the life of the poor. (

As Picasso's health improved, so did his outlook on life. His work became full of bright and vigorous colors. "Perhaps this was because he realized how his life differed so much from the poor on the streets. This was also a point in Picasso's life when sculpture and black art intrigued him. His work, "Two Nudes" reflects this attitude ( Robb and garrison say this period of Picasso's life was defined by "a new mood of romanitc sentiment in his circus subjects, jugglers, and acrobats. With these paintings done in 1905-1906 came new feeling for warmer colors, tans and pinks, and a new emphasis on classic form" (Robb, David M. and Garrison J.J., Art in the Western World. Harper and Row: New York, 1963, P. 610-611).

In the next stage of Picasso's career he developed a new style of art called Cubism. Picasso's Cubism was influenced by the artist Ce'zenne, whi "in searching for basic expressive forms. . .largely disregarded surface appearance and transformed familiar shapes; in building his images he ignored the traditional values of sentiment and beauty" (Robb, David M. and Garrison J.J., Art in the Western World. Harper and Row: New York, 1963, P. 611). Picasso is credited with painting the first Cubist picture, The Young Woman of Avignon" in 1907. The picture is characterized by sharp angles, and geometric figures. The triangle is prevalent throughout the images. Cubism, "called for ordering, arranging, and imposing strict architectural procedure in pictorial design--in short over leaping literal, non-artistic vision" (Robb, David M. and Garrison J.J., Art in the Western World. Harper and Row: New York, 1963, P. 611). Picasso developed Cubism in stages, "analytic, synthetic, hermetic, and rococo. These techniques were not only useful in painting but in collages as well" ( Picasso's work continued to be influenced by his personal life and the world around him.

Picasso met Eva Marcelle Humbert, and fell in love with her but the war separated them and she died in 1915. Picasso worked on "Harlequin" to cope with the grief of his lost friend. In 1917, Picasso involved himself with Diaghilev's Russian Ballet. He worked on costume and set design for Parade (1917) and while all this was going on Picasso met his future bride, Olga Kokhloven, who was a dancer for the ballet. The Ballet gave him inspiration for his next work, "Three Dancers" (

Picasso's work took on still more changes in the early 1920's. Civil War broke out in Spain, and he became influenced by politics and the horrors and atrocities that occurred during this time. His paintings reflected the mood of the times, and helped the world cope with the disasters of war and death: Then something dreadful happened, a small Spanish town became a test site for some new bombs. Picasso's work, the "Guernica" demonstrates the horror, cruelty, and injustice that took place. On a greater scale, not only does it provide compassion for those lost at Guernica, but it also illustrates how useless and horrible war truly is. ("Pablo Picasso" accessed April 12, 1999).

Picasso later became the director of the Prado Gallery in Madrid until the outbreak of WWII. During the War Picasso worked in Paris. He continued to produce vast amounts of work despite the world around him, and was inspiration to those suffering from the War's horrors. In 1931, Picasso left his wife. He had many many mistresses following his divorce. The women provided him with inspiration for his works. He also used many of his mistresses as models for his work. According the web site "Pablo Picasso" he "took an interest in the last one of the mistresses, Jacqueline Roque, and decided he wanted her to be his wife" ("Pablo Picasso" accessed April 12, 1999). Picasso lived into his nineties and continued to produce artwork up until his death. He celebrated his 90th birthday "with an exhibition of eight of his works in the Louve Museum of Paris" ("Pablo Picasso" accessed April 12, 1999).

Picasso was the most influential artist this century. Influences of Picasso's work can be seen in the artwork of great artists like Salavadore Dali, Juan Gris', Wassily Kandinski, Chagall, Klee, and a host of others. Like all great artists, his work influenced more than just artists, and represented more than just art. Writng in the late 1930's Robb and Garsison, claim modern art reflects modern society in that it: Is skeptical about the ability of science to solve all human problems. Despite the violence and disruption, there is every reason to believe that our age will emerge from dangling doubt, from negative questioning. The work of artists, scientists, and statesmen demonstrates a sober and chastened faith in a new order for a horribly disrupted world. In all spheres, notably physics, art and politics, positive advances are being made against chaos. The work of Roosevelt, Einstein, Picasso, and Wright is that of heroic builders of string foundations upon which a stable world structure can be erected. (Robb, David M. and Garrison J.J., Art in the Western World. Harper and Row: New York, 1963, P. 608)

Pablo Picasso contributed to the political and social climate of his time. His work was uplifting, and offered hope through two world wars, and a civil war in his homeland Spain. Picasso's work inspired millions at a time when the future of the world was in doubt. He allowed the politics of the outside world to influence his artwork, and displayed courage in depicting abstract images of hope for the future, while also depicting the horrors of the world around him. However, Picasso was not only influential, but he was extremely productive, perhaps the most productive artist in history and an artistic genius: Pablo Picasso created over 50,000 works in his lifetime. These were not all paintings either. Included in Picasso's works are: 347 untitled engravings, stage sets, illustrations of classical texts, sculptures, ceramics, lithography, a play, and two collections of poetry. Picasso died in Mougins, France at age 92. No one could say that Pablo Picasso was not a creative individual. One look at the life he lived and it is easily seen what a genius he was and perhaps the most renowned artist of all time. (

He was truly the greatest artist of the twentieth century.

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