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Picasso and Cubism 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 were he was Picasso's instructor at the fine arts academy. (Douglas, p. 86) 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. Cubism is a form of art that was created, mainly, by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque in Paris between 1907 and 1914. The style emphasizes a flat, two-dimensional plane, contradictory to the techniques of perspective and foreshortening. The main distinguishing characteristic between cubism and other styles such as impressionism is that cubism does portray nature in art. Cubist painters are not limited to painting a certain color, or form, or a certain texture.
Cubism broke objects down into basic shapes of cubes, spheres, cylinders, and cones. The artists took it to themselves to show things as they are, not how the look. (Owen, p. 18) Cubism got its name from comments made painter by Henri Matisse and critic Louis Vauxcelles, who described Braque's 1908 work "Houses at L'Estate" as looking like a bunch of cubes. (Seblonka, p. 117) There are two stages of Cubism, Analytical and Synthetic. Analytical Cubism, 1908 - 1912, was when Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque discovered the space around and inside and object. Analytical Cubism is when the cubist quality of fragmentation, which means overlapping planes, was increased, and an objects depiction moved even further away from physical reality. Uncommon shading was also used during the Analytical Cubism period. Synthetic Cubism, 1912 - 1920, added bits and pieces of actual objects to the picture, such as newspaper clippings and rope.
Synthetic Cubism produced the first collages, which is defined as a technique of composing a work of art by pasting on a single surface various materials not normally associated with one another. Cubism changed art for the 20 th century in more ways than one. Cubism changed the view of art as not only displaying nature. Cubism also made it easier for people to become recognized as artists.
You did not need to be a virtuoso in order to produce something that is good. Cubism is an advance in many ways, not only did it fully shatter a paradigm of dimensions unimaginable, but it brought art closer to the individual. Not to say the Cubists weren't talented, they certainly were - but instead of having to be Michelangelo, a normal person could sketch together a picture and not feel like a fool because it didn't look exactly like the thing they were drawing. (Douglas, p. 77) Sometimes when we look at a picture done by Pablo Picasso we think, or we hear, something about the painting being arbitrary and not having any meaning, as if the shapes were just placed anywhere. We feel that although the paintings are broken up into geometric shapes one can see parts of the object that the artists wanted them the shape to represent. This indicates to us that their pictures were planned rather than arbitrarily done. George Braque and Picasso were struck by the compelling simplicity of pre Christian Iberian bronzes and of African sculpture (Owen, p. 83).
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. 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 (Jenkinson, p. 119).
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. As the blue period ended, a renaissance of Picasso's passion came about. Pablo transferred into a new form of his life, in dramatic fashion, which is entitled the rose period. This was a radical change from his past four years of life, in which he painted very dismal pictures, and seemed to be in a depressive state. For some reason or another Picasso started to paint in a new form of different colors and much brighter tones.
The tones helped convey the idea of happiness and an idea of being very much alive. Pablo also changed his direction with subjects he was painting. He was now choosing to paint clowns, acrobats and circus themes in general, instead of a dismal old man playing a guitar. The images he was now painting also helped convey the idea of happiness and youthfulness, which was not present only two years ago.
Whether Picasso came out of a depression that he was in, or if he just decided to paint new scenes, it is certain that something happened in his life. For someone to go through such a transformation is remarkable, no matter what reason. Even though this period of time in Picasso's life only lasted a little over a year, it was a dramatic step towards what the world now remembers of Pablo's works. In direct correlation with Picasso's rose period is the invention of his most famous art form, cubism. Even though Picasso did thousands of different works, it is his cubism pieces that are most remembered. Picasso is widely thought to be the inventor of cubism art, but this is actually not a true statement.
Picasso was one of the founders, but he was not the sole founder of the concept. That distinction goes to a man by the name of Georges Braque, who was actually for the most part, a good friend of Pablo Picasso's. Together they were the creators of the new art form called cubism. The idea of cubism is to take an object and then separate it, and then put it back together. The idea is one that is hard to explain, but is easily identifiable when seen in person. Paintings done in the cubist form have a very distinct look, with a very uneasy appeal too most.
It is very hard to look at a cubist work, and believe that it is the greatest thing that has ever been done. The idea behind cubism is not to impress by beauty, but to impress by skill and abstraction. Artists, of this day and age, would all agree that the cubist form is the hardest to master and to even make look like what it was supposed to. Picasso took pride in his ability to master this art form, and was quick to point out his skill through multiple paintings in this form. One of Picasso's most famous cubist paintings was one that was also one of the most controversial. It was entitled Guernica, which was the name of a town that was bombed by the Nazi regime.
This artwork was one of the most famous anti-war propaganda, which clearly degraded the idea of war and senseless killing. It is a truly moving piece that has a lot of meaning and passion behind it. Picasso had a strong feeling about what he was trying to portray in his painting, which was one of senseless murder. Picasso was truly a man of a good character, and possessed the power to convey his message through his art. (Seblonka, p. 94) He displayed his passion in this painting and proved his love for human life. If this was any insight into the mind of Picasso then it proves that he was truly a great man. Any man that is willing to paint a picture that would be seen world wide and publicly denounce the Nazis, is truly passionate about what he is doing.
He did not fear the repercussions that could come from such a public display. It is in the opinion of most that Picasso was truly a great man, just for this painting by its self. Finally, Picasso was a man of many different talents, in which he exemplified through numerous different art works. In 1930 he pioneered another art form with a friend of his, Julio Gonzalez, which was wrought iron sculpture. A concept that used iron for sculpture and was the first of its kind.
Also, Pablo was very skilled at graphic illustrations, which he did numerous works with in the early thirties. Later in his life he decided to do free variations of old master pieces. In this style he would take old master pieces, by the greatest painters ever, and interpret them into his own style. He was taking some of the greatest pieces in art history and turning them into Picasso's. Picasso was obviously more than a painter, and proved it with a fifty foot sculpture he donated to the Chicago Civic Center in the 1960 s. Picasso was a man of a wide variety of talents and could easily be considered a Renaissance man, with his talent and technique. (Newman, p. 56) Picasso was one of the greatest artists ever, and was obviously an extraordinary man.
He ranged from different styles of paintings, to very different styles of art. Picasso was an inventor of two different art forms, with the inventions of cubism and wrought iron sculpture. Picasso had his hand in everything he possibly could and excelled at everything he touched. Another great attribute to this great man was his life span, which spanned through two centuries, and also went through two world wars.
Picasso is one of the greatest painters of all times and should be given credit for a lot more than he is. Word Count: 1, 792. Bibliography: Douglas, K. Picasso and his Works. Toronto: Scientific Press, 1998. Jenkinson, Michael.
The Origins of Cubism. New York: Random House, 1999. Newman, Peter C. Life of Picasso. Michigan: Zondervan Publishers, 1999. Owen, K.
Contemporary Art and Influential Artists. London: Scientific Press, 2000. Seblonka, P. Pablo Picasso. New York: Harper Collins, 2002.
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