About Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso was born on October 25, 1881, in Málaga, Spain. He's known today as Picasso, but his full birth name is 23 words long!
Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruíz y Picasso. Using Spanish naming customs, he was named after various saints and relatives (a lot of saints and relatives!).
Picasso was born so weak that the midwife who delivered him thought he would not live. She left him to go help his mother. The story is that Picasso's uncle was a doctor and saved him by blowing cigar smoke in baby Picasso's face. Picasso reacted with a scream. Hooray! Baby Picasso was alive!
As a young boy, Picasso showed interest and skill in drawing. His first words were "piz, piz," which is short for lápiz, the Spanish word for pencil.
Picasso's father was an art teacher and taught Picasso how to paint. At the age of 9, Picasso completed his first painting: Le Picador, a man riding a horse in a bullfight.
When Picasso was 13, his father found him painting over his unfinished sketch of a pigeon. He saw how precise his son's technique was. It was obvious his son had a lot of talent. In fact, he thought his son was more talented than he was. He gave his son his own brush and palette and vowed to never paint again.
Picasso's father soon accepted a position teaching in Barcelona. He asked officials there to allow his son to take the entrance exam for the advanced art class. This exam took most students a month to complete. Picasso completed it in a week! The officials were so impressed that they admitted Picasso to the academy.
There, Picasso grew as an artist, but he lacked discipline. The teachers punished him by sending him to the "calaboose," a bare cell with whitewashed walls and nothing but a bench to sit on. But, Picasso liked it there because he could take along a sketchpad and draw all day without being disturbed.
At 16, Picasso's father enrolled him in the best art school in Madrid, where Picasso continued to struggle with formal instruction. He had his own unique vision, style, and ideas. He wanted to follow his own dreams. Instead of going to classes, Picasso spent his days visiting museums and doodling in his notebook. He studied and practiced art on his own.
Picasso Shakes Up the Art World
Picasso forever changed the art of painting. He revolutionized it. He created an art movement known as Cubism.
Cubism did what no style of painting had ever done. In Cubist paintings, objects are broken apart and put back together in weird forms. Geometric shapes like cubes, cones, or cylinders make up the paintings. The object in the painting is shown from many different viewpoints at the same time.
Before Cubism, the artist showed his subject from only one viewpoint. In Cubist painting, the artist may show the front and the side of a person's face at the same time. Can you see the front and side of this woman's face?
Weeping Woman (1937)
Picasso also painted many self-portraits. He painted this one in 1901, during what is called his "Blue Period." It shows a dark, gloomy Picasso.
He painted this Cubist-style self-portrait in 1907. It shows a young, happier Picasso.
Most of Picasso's paintings are in museums. There are a few in people's homes. Picasso's paintings are really expensive. This one sold for over $83 million!
Picasso did more than paint, he also . . .
. . . made drawings . . .
. . . created sculptures . . .
. . . and even painted with light!
In his older years, Picasso was an international celebrity. People were as interested in his personal life as they were his art. Picasso is known today as one of the greatest and most influential artists in history.