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Pablo Picasso: 20th Century Artistic Genius

Brief Profile

Full Name: Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso
Born: October 25, 1881 in Málaga, Spain
Died: April 8, 1973 (aged 91) in Mougins, France
Movement: Cubism, Surrealism
Mediums: Painting, Drawing, Sculpture, Printmaking, Ceramics
Influences: El Greco, Diego Velázquez
Social Media: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter

As an art enthusiast, I‘ve long admired the groundbreaking paintings and sculptures of Pablo Picasso. After studying his expansive body of work and colorful life story for many years, I‘m delighted to provide this in-depth look at one of history‘s most visionary and prolific artists. Come explore Picasso‘s journey from promising Spanish student to innovative co-founder of Cubism to legendary figure synonymous with 20th century art.

Early Life and Family in Spain

Born in Málaga, Spain in 1881, Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso was the only surviving son of Don José Ruiz y Blasco and Maria Picasso y Lopez. From a young age, Pablo showed a strong aptitude for drawing and painting. His father, an artist and professor at the School of Fine Arts in Málaga, gave him his first formal lessons in art.

In 1895, the Ruiz y Picasso family moved to Barcelona where 14-year-old Pablo passed the entrance exam for the prestigious School of Fine Arts. Aspiring artist Picasso thrived in the robust art scene of turn-of-the-century Barcelona. He familiarised himself with avant-garde styles and frequented galleries, museums, and cabarets in his free time.

Early Career and Life in Paris

After developing his classical training in Barcelona, Picasso moved to Paris, France in 1904. There he absorbed the bohemian environment and avant-garde energy of Montparnasse. Works from Picasso‘s Blue Period (1901–1904) and Rose Period (1904–1906) marked his early artistic blossoming.

In Paris, Picasso met Fernande Olivier who became his muse and lover for almost a decade. Their tumultuous relationship inspired many now-famous Picasso paintings like Woman Ironing and Portrait of Fernande.

Pioneering Cubism

Around 1907 in Paris, Picasso and fellow Spanish artist Georges Braque invented Cubism. This avant-garde style revolutionized painting by representing subjects from multiple viewpoints simultaneously. Cubist works like Picasso‘s radical Les Demoiselles d‘Avignon (1907) abandoned the conventions of perspective popular since the Renaissance.

Les Demoiselles d‘Avignon stunned the Paris art world and set Picasso on a trailblazing course as one of the most influential figures in 20th century art. In Cubist portraits like his Portrait of Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler (1910), Picasso used fragmented planes and geometrized forms to evoke a subject‘s essence rather than literal appearance.

Fame and War

In 1937 amidst the Spanish Civil War, Picasso created his epic anti-war painting Guernica. The monochrome canvas captured the chaotic violence of war in disjointed, anguished images. Guernica brought international attention to the suffering of civilians under Fascist bombardment.

As his fame grew, Picasso associated with many leading literary and intellectual figures like Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway. He joined the Surrealist movement in the late 1920s and 30s, producing iconic dreamlike paintings like Girl Before a Mirror (1932).

Picasso lived in France for most of his life but retained his Spanish identity. During World War II, the famous artist stayed in Paris under German occupation and forged documentation of his Spanish (neutral) citizenship.

Enduring Legacy

Picasso continued creating art prolifically until his death in 1973. Altogether he produced an estimated 50,000 works encompassing painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking, and stage design.

Some of Picasso‘s notable contributions to 20th century art include:

  • Co-founding the Cubist movement with Georges Braque
  • Pioneering collage and papier collé techniques
  • Developing Constructed Sculpture using scrap materials
  • Capturing emotion through simplified features in portraits
  • Conveying anti-war sentiment in works like Guernica

Picasso‘s artistic genius manifested in his constant innovation, technical skill, and creative vision. His audacious artwork pushed boundaries and fundamentally shaped the development of modern art. Picasso‘s prolific career spanned over 75 years, cementing his status as the quintessential 20th century artist. His groundbreaking creations continue inspiring artists, art lovers, and cultural conversations today.

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