PABLO PICASSO ©

PABLO PICASSO

Pablo Ruiz Picasso, world-renowned painter and sculptor, was born in Malaga, Spain, on October 25, 1881. The son of a professor at the School of Arts and Crafts, curator of the city's museum, at an early age he revealed an early inclination for drawing and painting. His father, a mediocre painter, favored his aptitude, allowing him to put his hand to his canvases for detail work. At 14, Pablo, with the work "The First Communion," amazes his father, who envisions a promising academic career for his son. That work will be his first official painting suitable for an exhibition In 1891 the family moved to La Coruna, where the father accepted a position as Drawing Teacher at the local Art Institute, and where Pablo attended drawing classes. Painting and publishing one-off produced magazines were young Pablo Picasso's pastimes when he entered the Academy of Fine Arts in Barcelona in 1895. After winning a competition at the Royal Academy of Madrid, Pablo Picasso has a rejection towards the predetermined academy and so he abandons and moves to the capital, going to live in a poorly heated hovel, leading a bohemian life and working tirelessly in search of his own expressive style very different from the academic one, which he found predictable and boring. Scarlet fever, brought him back to his family in Barcelona where he frequented the circles where artists, politicians, poets and vagabonds gathered. During this period Pablo Picasso painted mainly sad and tragic figures, signing his works P. Ruiz, then, to distinguish himself from his father, added his mother's name "Picasso," deciding in his early twenties to sign himself simply Picasso. In February 1900, playing the role of the cursed artist, Pablo Picasso organized an exhibition in Barcelona that, except for the reservations of conservatives, was successful, selling many works and turning the young painter into a character, hated and loved, but about whom everyone talks. In 1921 his first son Paulo was born. A little later his marriage entered a crisis because Pablo Picasso fell in love with Marie Thérèse Walter (a 17-year-old: he was forty-five), by whom he had a daughter, Maya. Pablo Picasso tries to obtain a divorce several times, but due to bureaucratic issues he never succeeds. Always in emotional crisis, Picasso leaves painting to devote himself to poetry. In 1944, in crisis with his last partner Dora Maar, he became involved in politics, joined the Communist Party and participated in international peace conferences. In Pablo Picasso's life there is a whole long procession of women: Fernande and Eva, Olga and Marie-Therese, Dora and Francoise, Alice and many others, who also influenced him in his artistic choices. But the last years of his life he preferred to spend them as a recluse in his Cannes home with his young last wife Jacqueline Roque, whom he married in 1961, continuing his work as an artist. There are essentially two works by Picasso that hold a fundamental place in art history, for different reasons. The first is Les demoiselles d'Avignon, a work from 1907, considered the first accomplished example of Cubist art. The second work is Guernica, a huge painting made in 1937, which shows the drama of war in an immediate and poignant way. To these two can be added Le Reve, a work famous for being purchased for a price of $155 million, in March 2003. Pablo Picasso painted, in his long life, more than 120 thousand works including oils, temperas, sketches drawings and personally decorated objects or ceramics. This is certainly a rough estimate, but it is based on basic data such as the number of works kept by the artist in his own homes, market circulation, and an assessment of annual production effort. His mammoth artistic activity has always been the subject of study and discussion. To better understand his work and its evolution, leading scholars have divided it into Periods: Spanish Period (until 1901), Blue Period (1901 - 1904), Pink Period (1904 - 1906), Arte Negra (1906-1907), Cubism (from 1907), Papiers Collés (from 1912), Neoclassical Period (from 1917). It is practically impossible, however, to pigeonhole Picasso into a single defined style and periods, as he was an incredibly multifaceted artist, capable of approaching painting by applying almost all styles old and new and not always in perfect chronological sequence. Spanish Realism: In 1897 Picasso became associated with the artistic and literary milieu of the Els Quatre Gats cabaret and began working as an illustrator for a number of magazines. After an initial trip to Paris, the artist conducted his first positive artistic experiences working in the vein of Spanish Realism. Blue Period: After a second stay in Paris, the artist's works are inspired by aspects of the human condition, to whose dramatic rendering contribute memories of Spain and the essentiality of vision of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. He resorts to the use of a restrained blue monochrome that is well suited to his sorrowful and melancholy images and characterizes what is called the "blue period," which lasted until the spring of 1904. In this period he creates relevant works including: "Portrait of Jaime Sabartés"; "Absinthe Drinker"; "The Old Jew"; and "The Old Blind Guitarist." The World of the Circus: In the spring of 1904, the artist left Spain to move permanently to Paris, where he found a studio with P. Durio in Montmartre, in the building that later became known as the Bateau lavoir and where one of the first groups of Cubism was active. The world of the circus is a recurring theme of most of the works of those years, made with that soft flesh color that characterizes the "pink period" between 1905 and 1906. Two works from the aforementioned period are "The Family of Acrobats" and "The Toilet." Picasso's Sculptures: In the Netherlands in Schooridam in the summer of 1905, the preconditions matured for Picasso's first authentic sculptural evidence, "The Jester." There are numerous paintings from this period, including "The Jugglers" and "Fillette à la boule." The same concept of seeking prominence appears documented in the graphic works of this period. During his stay in Spain, Picasso is most sensitive to solicitations of early Iberian sculpture: the concise and plastic image of "Portrait of Gertrude Stein" bears witness to this. Picasso and Cubism Cubism: In 1907, the year of his meeting with D.H. Kahnweiler, G.Braque and A.Derain, the artist made "Les demoiselles d'Avignon." It was born in the year when the major retrospective of P.Cézanne, whose work marks the starting point of nascent Cubism, was held in Paris. With G.Braque, Picasso searches for a solution to the problem of the third dimension, and the stages of this search are marked in the volumetric rendering of the geometric and faceted landscapes executed by Picasso in the summer of 1908 at La Rue des Bois. The first and authentic Cubist landscapes of the early analytical phase are those executed by Picasso in the summer of 1909 in Horta de Hebro. In the years 1911-12 the artist in his stay in Céret has the moment of greatest contact with the painting of Braque, who is the most convinced theoretician of that movement. In 1912 he is active in Avignon, in Céret and then in Sorgues, where still in close contact with Braque, he gives life to the major Cubist works by initiating collage, an invention that alongside that of the famous French artist's papier collé, will have important consequences in the development of Dadaist and then Surrealist art. In the years 1913-14 he matured his experience of synthetic cubism, whereby the object tends to be reconstructed in simplified planes; examples are these works, "Sheet of Music and Guitar," "Woman in Armchair in Front of Fireplace," "Glass of Absinthe," and "Harlequin." His seminal document of synthetic cubism is "The Three Musicians," executed in 1921 and now on view in the Museum of Modern Art in Philadelphia. Surrealism: In 1925, having exhausted Cubist inspiration, Picasso approached Surrealism, very clear in the work "The Dance," composed in 1925 and now in the Tate Gallery, London. The artist's later experiences, from the small compositions of bright chromaticism executed in 1928 in Dinard to the creations of the so-called "monster period," in which he executed "Woman by the Sea" in 1930, constitute unpredictable outgrowths of an artistic language destined for continuous renewal. Expressionism: In 1934 he sojourned in Spain, resuming his favorite theme of bullfighting. After the Surrealist interlude Picasso brings out in fullness of sign and color his expressionist background with the masterpiece, summarizing the modern interpretation of the horrors of war as "Guernica" in 1937 where the inspiration is the German bombing of the small Spanish village. In the postwar years, Picasso's activity spans multiple areas. In addition to the numerous lithographic production of the years 1945-46, particularly copious and intense is his work as a ceramist and, no less important, his sculptural activity. Picasso's works, after the first two decades of the 20th century, will continue with the repetition of the six periods of the previous artistic experience, with increasingly frequent contaminations that will alter the originality of the periods in which they were formed. Among the best-known works represented mainly by animals is "The Goat" executed in 1950 now in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, an assemblage of found or everyday objects later cast in bronze. From 1949 is the famous "Dove of Peace" designed for the poster of the World Peace Congress in Paris. The last years are particularly interesting: the political events of the early 1950s are documented in the "Massacre in Korea" of 1951 and the two panels of "War" and "Peace" executed between 1952 and 1953, for the chapel in Vallauris. This was followed by the cycles of variations, from the series on E.Delacroix's "Women of Algiers" in 1954-55 to that on D. Velàzquez's "Les Menines" in 1957, to those devoted to E. Manet's "Déjeuner sur l'herbe" in 1960 and N. Poussin's "Rape of the Sabine" executed in 1962. A constant theme of the 1960s is the composition Painter and Model, and the decade is noted for the extraordinarily prolific and qualitative activity in printmaking, lithography and ceramics, techniques in which Picasso is considered one of the greatest in history and which he practiced throughout his life. Picasso, the greatest artist of the 20th century, died in Mougins in 1973, having painted to the last with a style now free of all conditioning and contaminated by all the styles previously used. In recent years, his last works have been the subject of a rediscovery by critics and an incredible success with the public.

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