I’m sure you all have heard of Pablo Picasso. If you have not then, don’t worry. You have come to the right place! Pablo Picasso was not only a Spanish painter but also a sculptor, print maker, ceramicist, stage designer, poet and a playwright. He was actually baptized Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruíz y Picasso (phew! what a name!). It is said that he named after many saints and relatives. He manifested his rare talent at the tender age of 10 when he completed his first painting called Le picador which depicts a man riding a horse in a bullfight. However, First Communion is his first “academic” work in the field of Arts. It features his father, mother and younger sister kneeling before an altar. Mind you, Picasso was only 15 when he finished this work! And yes, he went on to produce many more masterpieces that simply awed the world. Some of them are given below:
10. The Old Guitarist.
This was painted in 1903 after Picasso’s friend, Casagemas, had died due to a suicide. This was the time when he turned a sympathetic ear towards the down- trodden and the poverty- ridden. Hence, the painting. This was created in Madrid and depicts a distorted style which reflects that of El Greco. The painting is of a bent and sightless man who is holding a big brown guitar. The colour brown marks the only deviation from the colour scheme. Not only physically but symbolically too, the guitar fills the space around the old man who seems to be oblivious to his blindness and poverty as he plays.
9. Girl Before a Mirror.
Painted in March 1932, this painting presents us with an image of Picasso’s French mistress, Marie- Therese. The style in which Girl Before a Mirror is painted is called cubism. The whole idea of Cubism is to take an object, break it down into simpler parts and then, help present multiple perspectives by recreating those very parts on a canvas. This painting evokes an image of vanity. The painting at first seems to be quite simple but if one were to look closely, one would find different symbols within different parts of the painting.
This is probably one of the most famous paintings of Picasso. This is no ordinary painting but a strong political statement. It critiques the bombing practice on the Basque town of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War, carried out by the Nazi’s. This painting is eleven feet tall and twenty five feet wide and is a powerful indictment against war. The style of the painting is a combination of pastoral and epic. It painstakingly depicts the tragedies of war and the way innocent civilians suffer.
7. Three Musicians.
The title of the painting encapsulates a series which was completed by Picasso in 1921 in Fontainebleau near Paris, France. A rather large painting, it is more more than two metres wide and high. It is a reflection of the Synthetic Cubist style which transforms an artwork into a sequence of planes, lines and arcs. Each painting under this title depicts a Harlequin, a Pierrot and a Monk. It is believed that these three characters represent Picasso, Guillaume Apollinaire and Max Jacob, respectively. Apollinaire and Jacob were very good friends of Picasso during the 1910’s. Some historians, however, also believe that The Three Musicians was Picasso’s belated reply to The Piano Lesson.
6. Seated Woman (Marie- Therese).
Like Guernica, this work of art was also painted in 1937. Marie- Therese was Picasso’s muse and he has created many tranquil images of her. Many believe that this painting resembles a queen court card from a deck of play cards- an imagery which is often designed with stripes. Again, a Cubist style has been used in this painting too along with the polarization of the red and green colors.
5. Dora Maar au Chat.
A painting which was made by Picasso in 1941, Dora Maar au Chat features his Croatian lover who is shown seated on a chair with a tiny cat perched on her shoulders. Picasso had a decade long relationship with Dora Maar and over this period, he painted her portraits many a times. Dora herself was a surrealist photographer. this painting is considered one of the least hostile painting of Dora Maar and also, one of the most expensive paintings in the world. An extraordinary attention to details have been given by Picasso in the painting which happens to be a rare piece of art.
4. Blue Nude.
Blue Nude is one of the earliest masterpieces of Picasso. It was painted in 1902. This painting is an offspring of Picasso’s Blue Period. This was the time when Picasso used a pale, cold blue as the dominant colour in his paintings and sketches. Most of his paintings during the Blue Period reflected strong emotions through one colour. Blue Nude depicts the back of a woman sitting in a fetal position. The painting offers no background and the emotions are not clear as well.
3. Les Demoiselles d’ Avignon.
This was painted in 1907 and is one of the most exemplary examples of Cubism painting. This piece of art breaks away from the traditional composition and representation of painting. Picasso uses distorted female bodies and geometric forms in a highly innovative way. None of the figure painted is conventionally feminine and the women appear to be slightly menacing too. As is evident, this piece of artwork is fairly large and it took Picasso nine months to complete it. This painting also reflects the influence of African art on Picasso.
2. Nude, Green Leaves and Bust.
Painted in 1932, this painting featured Picasso’s mistress, Marie- Therese. This canvas is more than five feet tall and was completed in a single day. This painting is regarded as one of the greatest achievements of Picasso during the interwar period. This painting creates illusions and is considered to be quite sexual.
1. The Weeping Woman.
An oil canvas, The Weeping Woman was painted by Picasso in 1937. It is believed that this painting is a continuation of the theme of tragedy which Picasso had depicted in his Guernica. By painting a weeping woman, Picasso directly focused on the human aspect of suffering and created a singular universal image. This painting was the end of a series that Picasso had painted as a sign of protest. The model for the painting (as well as for the entire series) was Dora Maar who was working as a professional photographer.
No doubt, Picasso demonstrated extraordinary artistic talent since young age! The co- creator of Cubism, he was an amazingly prolific painter who not only achieved universal renown and fortune through his marvelous art works but also, went on to become one of the best known figures in twentieth century art.