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Pablo Picasso: Facts, Artwork & Famous Paintings

Instructor: Ninamarie Ochoa
As one of the most famous and revolutionary artists of the modern era, Pablo Picasso worked in multiple styles throughout his life, helping to establish the school of Cubist art and popularize Surrealism.

Who is Pablo Picasso?

Have you ever woke up from a dream and remember everything in distorted perspectives, colors, and styles? Pablo Picasso is one of the most famous artists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and he's credited for pioneering and popularizing surrealist art, which captures the abstract and dreamlike essence of things you might have seen in your crazy dreams.

Artistic Beginnings

Pablo Picasso was born October 25th, 1881 in Málaga, Spain, and was baptized under the name (get ready for this) 'Pablo, Diego, José, Francisco de Paula, Juan Nepomuceno, Maria de los Remedios, Cipriano de la Santisima Trinidad, Ruiz Picasso.' His name reflects his father's last name, Ruiz, and his mother's, Picasso.

Picasso is widely remembered as demonstrating an interest in art very early life, especially considering that his father was also a painter. His father trained and tutored Picasso, who learned traditional figure-drawing and oil painting from him.

After Picasso's younger sister died of diphtheria, the family relocated to Barcelona. Picasso would later remember the city as his true home. When Picasso was 16, his father and uncle encouraged him to apply to Madrid's prestigious Royal Academy of San Fernando. Despite the honor of being accepted, Picasso became disinterested in formal studies and soon stopped attending classes.

Picasso traveled to Paris in 1900, where he shared an apartment with Parisian journalist and poet, Max Jacob. By 1901, Picasso had returned to Madrid, where he published his first work in the anarchist publication Arte Joven (Young Art).

Artistic Periods

Picasso is credited with a staggering body of work, comprising over 50,000 works, including 1,885 paintings and 1,228 sculptures. Scholars divide this overwhelming collection into five periods: The Blue Period, The Rose Period, The African-Influenced Period, Analytic Cubism, and Synthetic Cubism.

Scholars consider 1894 the start of Picasso's artistic career. His works began to exhibit influences from the Symbolist and Modernist schools of art, which were characterized by their abstract and dreamlike styles.

The Blue Period (1901-1904) was marked by its solemn subject-matter, painted in a blue and green color palette that conveyed subjects' suffering. During this time, Picasso was affected deeply by suicide of his close friend, Carlos Casagemas.

Pablo Picasso, La Vie (1903)
Pablo Picasso, La Vie (1903)

The Rose Period (1904-1905) is recognizable for its works' warm hues and lively subjects, which included circus people, acrobats, and harlequins. Works from The Rose Period reveal the influence of French culture on Picasso, and it was during this time that the artist became the focus of increased attention in Parisian artistic circles. Author and poet Gertrude Stein was a patron of and helped popularize Picasso's works, and the painter soon rose to international fame.

Pablo Picasso, Portrait of Gertrude Stein (1906)
Pablo Picasso, Portrait of Gertrude Stein (1906)

The African-Influenced Period (1907-1909) derived its influence from African artifacts, and is considered a transitional period between Picasso's earlier professional works and his later innovation of Cubism. As you can see, Picasso's works during this time exhibit a greater level of abstraction, anticipating the style of his later works.

Pablo Picasso, Les Demoiselles d

Analytic Cubism (1909-1912) pioneered the style that Picasso developed with painter Georges Braque; analytic cubism deconstructed subjects, reducing each part to a geometrical shape. The effect was a fragmented, but still recognizable, whole, often painted in neutral shades.

Pablo Picasso, Girl with a Mandolin (Fanny Tellier) (1910)
Pablo Picasso, Girl with a Mandolin (Fanny Tellier) (1910)

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