Updated: Jul 12
Pablo Picasso is probably one of the most important artists of modern times. His impact on art in the 20th century is outstanding. By the age of 50 Picasso had accomplished more, than any other well known artist of the time, developed distinct styles and was extremely creative. There had never been a more influential artist up to this time than the Spanish born artist. Picasso was born October 25th, 1881 and died on April 8th, 1973.
Picasso produced tens of thousands of paintings, drawings, sculptures and ceramics, including theatre sets and costume design. He was bound to be recognized as the most important artist of the 20th century. Pablo Picasso was significantly involved in many modern art movements, from painting in a neoclassical style late in his life, to contributing in the development, along with George Braque of cubism.
He is known for changing his style more than any other artist. Picasso also used multiple mediums, such as metal sculpture, ceramics, collage, and had different periods of expression.
Picasso during his younger years was in his “Blue Period” (1901-1904). The Blue Period was a time of struggle, poverty, loss and depression. His work is deep, sad and can appear gloomy.
The Blue Period was followed by the Rose Period, (1904-1906). His work took on a happier look when it came to colours reds, pinks and yellows. Picasso was in love, was starting to have success and recognition. His artwork appeared more cheerful.
Next Picasso discovered African sculpture, this is called his Primitivism Period (1907-1909). Picasso loved African sculpture so much he had collected approximately 100 pieces over the years. During his Primitivism Period he began to experiment with the planes of faces and the flatting of figures, taking inspiration from African masks. Picasso was recognized for his new ideas, leading into cubism.
Cubism (1909-1919), is the process of deconstructing perspective. Using mostly neutral colours, Picasso and Braque took apart the item and analyzed it’s shape. Changing the form of the subject they were painting. Cubism grew to be especially radical in the form called Synthetic Cubism. Here the technique of collage was added into the art piece, using newspapers and tobacco wrappers to express a texture or feel in combination with paint, thus introducing the new art form of collage. This addition of collage was opening up ideas of the question of reality, and was there illusion coming forth from the painting. This changed the direction of art forever.
As a young man Picasso studied art, as all students do, in a classical manner. He studied masters like Raphael, learning the proper approach to painting and drawing, and Picasso mastered his lessons. In Picasso’s later years he returned and re-examined classical art. Painting a variety of old masters work in his own style, like Rembrandt, Manet and Goya. Some of the artworks painted in his later years are credited with inspiring the beginning of the Neo Expressionism movement. Once again Picasso had influenced modern art, changing the art world forever.
When Pablo Picasso dies at 91, in1973, he had been one of the most famous and successful artists in history. He is seen as the most prolific artist in history. His genius, 78 years of producing 13,500 paintings, 100,000 prints and engravings and, 34,000 illustrations. Not to mention his sculptures, murals, and ceramics.
Picasso’s impact on modern art is profound. He will forever be remembered in history like Shakespeare is to writing and DaVinci is to the Renaissance. Picasso is influencing artists today and will continue to into the future. I have only touched on some of his life and contributions, I encourage you to read and learn more about Picasso. Picasso has always been a favourite of mine. When I was studying art at university, one of my master copies was a Picasso and hangs in my living room. I have always admired his constant changing expression. I approach my art with the idea of change and experimentation as growth. I love trying new things from drawing, collage to oil painting in a classical style. I am sorry, do to copyright I could not add more pictures for you. I have listed a few other important dates below I thought you might like. For me Picasso is a constant inspiration. I will close with a quote I like of Picasso’s.
“Others have seen what is and ask why? I have seen what could be and ask why
1917 - Picasso moved to Rome and painted in a classicism style. His Classicism phase.
1920’s- Picasso was in his Metamorphic phase learning and painting Surrealism from Andre Breton.
1937 - Picasso painted Guernica
1946 - Picasso moved to the Mediterranean, made cermaics and painted the variations of the old masters.
1957-58 - Picasso painted the mural on the UNESCO headquarters.
1960‘s - There were a number of retropectives and exhibits of Picasso‘s around the world.
1960 ‘s- Picasso made metal sculpture
1971 - There was an exhibition at the Louve on his 90th birthday.
Sources: Picasso, Creator and Destroyer, by Arianna Huffington, Published 1988
Rubens to Picasso, Four Centuries of Master Drawings,
by Victor Chan, Published 1995
France, A History In Art, by Bradley Smith, Published 1984