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Pablo Picasso was considered the greatest artist of the 20 th century because of his unique styles and techniques. Pablo Ruiz y Picasso was born in Malaga, Spain on October 25, 1881 to a professor of art named Jose Ruiz Blanco and his wife Maria Picasso Lopez. Because of his fathers' occupation, Picasso's talent was quickly noticed and appreciated. Don Jose, an art teacher, moved Picasso and his family to La Coruna and then to Barcelona where he was Picasso's instructor at the fine arts academy. At the age of 10 Picasso made his first paintings, and performed brilliantly on the entrance exams to Barcelona's School Of Fine Arts. From there he went to the academy of San Fernando Madrid, and returned to Barcelona in 1900.
In his early teenage years Picasso painted under his fathers influence and in Spanish realism. As his knowledge became broader, he also painted in the dotted style of impressionism and the art of nouveau style. From 1901 to 1904 Picasso entered a phase called "Blue Period." In 1901 Picasso's friend Carles Casagemas shot himself because of a broken romance. This tragic death effected Picasso greatly, and because of his own failures he fell into a depression period.
Even Picasso's art was effected by his depression. His paintings were gloomy and mostly composed of shades of blues and greens. During this time Picasso painted the homeless, beggars, prostitutes, cripples, the hungry, and other out cast. In his paintings Picasso distorted the human figure to convey the mortal and principal decay of his subjects. In Evocation (The Burial of Casagemas), painted in 1901, Picasso showed the body of his friend Casagemas lying on the earth shrouded in white, while people mourn over it. His spirit is riding a white horse which moves upward through a sky thick with nude people.
Another famous painting from this period is La Vie, painted in 1903, which shows saddened, couple embracing and looking at the figure of an old woman holding a baby in her arms. The painting also contains two small pictures of nudes between the large standing figures. The two small paintings of huddled nude figures came from the Van Gogh painting Sorrow. Blind Mans Meal, Painted in 1903, depicts a blind man seated at a table which was set for a meal. One hand held a piece of bread, while the long fingers of the other reached toward the jug of wine. To Picasso blindness was the cruelest and most fearful of all sufferings (Ripley 12).
The last example in Picasso "Blue Period" was The Old Guitarist, painted in 1904, which is an elongated El Greco-like figure sitting cross-legged and bent sorrowfully into the area of the canvas. There is little sign of life about the man, his shoulders are bony and his pose cramped, as if to show that he finds no ease in the world around him. In 1905 close to the ending of his Blue Period Picasso decided to move back to Paris. It was here that he met Fernande Oliver and eventually fell in love with her. Picasso's paintings took a drastic change. He went from painting beggars and outcast to happy, healthy circus performers and families.
It was obvious that Picasso's first love had a tremendous effect on his art. Picasso's paintings no longer consisted of blue tones but instead took on more delicate rose tones. Fernande Oliver reflected his work and his happiness. One of Picasso's best works linked his Blue and Rose Period was The Frugal Repast. The painting had a beautiful healthy looking woman being embraced by a long dirty, hungry man. Picasso felt this way about Fernande Oliver.
He pictured himself as a poverty stricken man who was lucky enough to be with a beautiful woman. From the time 1905 to 1906 Picasso entered the Rose Period. Subtle pinks and grays with even brighter tones were the colors Picasso used. Some people also believed the warm tones of this period were influence by Picasso's habit of smoking opium (Ripley 101). Picasso was fascinated with clowns, acrobats, and other families of the circus world (Encarta CD-ROM). During his "Rose Period" Picasso did numerous etchings, dry points, and a series of sculptures.
Some paintings Picasso did during this period included Family of Saltimbanques. This painting is happily colored and full of acrobats. Looking closer at the painting shows each figure isolated from one another psychologically (Encarta CD-ROM). La Toilette painted in 1905 suggest memories of Greek vases, and shows Picasso's feelings over classical simplicity (Encarta CD-ROM).
But in 1906 Picasso wanted to start over. Instead of the elegance used in La Toilette he became interested in using "brutally direct and hulking forms of the female nude. " These figures represented qualities of a primitive Iberian sculpture which Picasso had grown to appreciate. The figure were flattened and looked like curved masks. But even Picasso's use of Primitivism vanished quickly.
George Braque and Picasso were "struck by the compelling simplicity of pre Christian Iberian bronzes and of African sculpture" (Wertenbaker 47). It was then that Picasso and Braque Laid down the foundation for cubism. From 1907 till about 1912 was an analytical cubism. Analytical cubism concentrated on geometrical forms using subdued colors (Ripley 56). In cubism Picasso chose a subject and broke it down into a number of facts, and showing several different aspects of one object at one time. The second phase of cubism was known as synthetic cubism.
This phase includes more decorative shapes, stenciling, collage, and brighter colors (Encarta CD-ROM). Picasso and Braque then started to use pieces of cut up newspaper in their paintings. In 1907 Picasso introduced his painting Les Demoiselles d' Avignon also known as a notorious place of prostitution. Though the pink color used in this painting would be eventually be replaced with grays and browns this was one of Picasso's most famous works of cubism.
The inhuman heads of the figures are an exposure to tribal art. It is believed that whether or not Picasso was consciously aware of the painting Les Demoiselles makes it visible that he has a fear of women. The only way he could dominate a woman was distorting them in his art. Soon cubism became too formal for Picasso and in the 1920 's between cubist style such as The Three Musicians and Mother and Child.
During the 1930 's Picasso began to add surrealism to his work, Including double image to create a shifting frame of reference, and the idea that objects were more than one object at a time. One of Picasso's greatest works occurred during the 1930 's. His famous painting Guernica used all the qualities of the different styles of art. This twelve foot long canvas was a protest against the bombing of a Basque town of Guernica. Guernica displays human suffering and how horse and warrior suffer alike. It is thought that with each new relationship Picasso had there was a different sort of creativity, a new idea.
The painting shows his infatuation with Olga Kophloua was The Lovers (Vogue 21). Marie-Therese was a mistress who inspired Picasso a lot. Picasso loved using her in his art. Picasso found her vulnerability very reassuring. Until their affair ended, the portraits of Marie were all gracious and sweet. The Weeping Woman a portrait of Dora Maar has a very unattractive face and had tears, which were probably tears, that Picasso had caused.
Pablo Ruiz y Picasso died on April 8, 1973. He was considered the foremost artist of his era and he was given the name El Maestro, which means the master. He is now thought to be one of the greatest artists of all times. His work is now left to be interpreted and appreciated.
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