We all know his name. It shows up in Jay-Z songs, as the nickname for the artsy kid in school, and has cemented itself as the artistic standard for the modern era. Picasso. We understand that this word, a name, brings along with it a heap of influence and prestige. Similar to how every athlete aspires to be the “Michael Jordan” of their sport, it’s safe to say most creatives aspire to be the “Picasso” of their craft. As one of the fathers of modern art, Pablo Picasso may very well be the most renowned artist of the 20th century, but how much do we really know about the iconic Spanish painter?
We’ll provide a few Picasso “must-knows,” which, we guarantee, will come in hand in nearly every future artful encounter…
Sure, Picasso is recognized for his abstracted, geometric, and cubic forms, BUT let’s not forget this: the man could draw. As a youth under his father’s instruction, Picasso received classical training in drawing and oil painting, completing his first oil painting at eight years old.
With ardent dedication to his craft, Picasso ventured to epicenter of art, Paris, in 1900. It was there that he encountered influential contemporaries and began to deconstruct his formal training.
Picasso’s work can be broken into 5 major periods
1. Blue Period (1901-1904): After arriving in Paris, Picasso would address the melancholic and defeated in his Blue Period paintgins. The period garners its name from the blue-green hues he used to portray his subjects, as well as the overall sentiment of feeling, well, “blue.” These pieces featured beggars, prostitutes, and the decrepit, and pinpoint an honest, documentarian moment in Picasso’s career.
2. Rose Period (1904-1906): Azure compositions transitioned to rosy canvases in the year of 1904. While Picasso continued to address the marginalized characters in society, he did so in a different, lighter fashion. Instead of the poor and diseased (as in the Blue Period), Picasso used pink and peach hues to reveal eccentric peoples and life on the fringes. The rose period is also called his “Circus Period,” as many of his featured figures were “saltimbanques,” or wandering circus performers.
3. African Period (1907-1909): The works in this period draw very direct connections to African Artifacts. Around the same time that Picasso came into contact with antique Iberian masks, his painted figures paintings appeared with similar physical makeups. Fellow painter Gauguin was also working under the influence of Africana, and was undoubtedly influential during this era.
4. Cubism (1909-1912): This is how most of us think of Picasso. Along with artist Georges Braques, who also made signifigant contributions to cubism, Picasso changed the art game forever. He broke down organic figures into cubic shapes, reducing dimensionality, depth, and traditional artistic representation. At the time, this. was. groundbreaking, although it was not immediately applauded as such. From bowls of fruit, to guitars, to entire battle scenes, Pablo Picasso took objects and broke down their complexity into simpler, less detailed depictions of themselves.
5. Classicism and Surrealism (1912-1930′s): After WWI Picasso delved into classicism and surrealism. His classicism was “neoclassicism”, or new classicism, as it revisited and reinvented a previously established style. The surrealist artists (think Dalí and company) were also in full force at this time, swaying even Picasso to explore the style, which he considered painting similarity, not reality.
Since the advent of his career, Picasso has influenced and set the precedent for proceeding modern artists. Explore the works below for a look into how even today, among a massive and diverse creative boom, Picasso works his way into art…