Pablo Picasso is universally known for his cubist and surrealist works. We retrace the career of the great Spanish painter who revolutionized the art world
The full name of Pablo Picasso, who honors a variety of relatives and saints, is Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Mártir Patricio Clito Ruiz y Picasso. Born on October 25, 1881 in Malaga, to Doña Maria Picasso y Lopez and Don José Ruiz Blasco, painter and drawing teacher, he is a frowning child and prematurely tired of everything. The young Picasso possesses, however, penetrating black eyes that seem to assign him to something big. Pablo soon showed a prodigious talent for drawing in age: according to legend, his first words were "piz, piz", the childish attempt to say "lápiz", pencil in Spanish. At 13, his abilities far exceed those of his father.
Pablo Picasso neglects the school and chooses to spend the days scribbling on his block. In 1895 he moved with his family to Barcelona, where he managed to access the prestigious School of Fine Arts. Generally the school only accepts students older than him but, given the extraordinary entrance exam, the commission makes an exception. However, the strict school rules are tight and Pablo prefers to go around the streets of Barcelona and repropose different scenes of the city on paper. In 1897 he moved to Madrid to attend the Royal Academy of San Fernando, but also in this case he was bored. He prefers gypsies, beggars and prostitutes to the techniques and classical themes he meets on the street. In 1899 he returned to Barcelona and joined the group of artists and intellectuals who met in the El Quatre Gats bar.
The painter breaks with classical methods and begins to follow an uninterrupted process of experimentation and innovation. At the beginning of the 20th century, he moved to Paris to open his own studio. From this moment, critics and art historians divide Pablo Picasso's career into distinct periods, the first of which, the blue period, lasts from 1901 to 1904. Lonely and deeply depressed due to the death of his friend Carlos Casagemas, represents scenes of anguish, isolation and poverty, almost exclusively in shades of blue and green. In 1905 Picasso, having closed the depression, fell in love with the model Fernande Olivier and benefited from the generous patronage of Ambroise Vollard. At this point he introduces warmer tones, such as beige, pink and red, into the paintings. It is the so-called rose period (1905-1906).
In 1907 Pablo Picasso produced a picture different from anything he or anyone else had ever painted before, a work that would have deeply influenced and inspired the future of art. "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon" is a chilling representation of five naked prostitutes, abstract and distorted thanks to the use of geometric shapes and blue, green and gray spots. Today, this painting is considered the precursor and inspiration of Cubism, an artistic style launched by Picasso and his friend and colleague Georges Braque. The outbreak of the First World War then brought about a great change in Picasso's art. His works between 1918 and 1927 are classified as part of the classical period, a fleeting return to realism.
Since 1927 Picasso has been involved in a new philosophical and cultural movement known as surrealism. His best known surrealist painting is "Guernica": considered one of the greatest paintings of all time, it was completed in 1937, during the Spanish civil war. With the colors white, gray and black, the painter condemns the horrors of war, emanating anguish and terror. After the Second World War, Pablo Picasso became more manifestly political: he joined the Communist party and was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize. At this point in her life, she is an international celebrity, the most famous living artist in the world. Continuously under the limelight, few, however, pay attention to his art. In contrast to the dazzling complexity of Cubism, the paintings now show a simple childish imagery and a primitive technique.
A year before his death, the visionary and empathic artist sketches "Self-portrait in front of death" with pencil and crayons. The autobiographical subject is outlined as a fusion between a man and a monkey, with a green face and pink hair. Yet the expression of his eyes, which express fear, wisdom and uncertainty together, is a unique and striking work of a true Master of art history. Pablo Picasso, unrepentant womanizer and father of four, works to the last, convinced that art would keep him alive much longer. He died on April 8, 1973, at the age of 91, in Mougins, France, leaving an exceptional legacy. Picasso has managed to continually reinvent himself: thanks to the transition between so radically different styles, the work of his life appears as the result of five or six eminent artists rather than the effort of one.