Great Artists: Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso is probably the most important figure of the 20th century, in terms of art, and art movements. Before the age of 50, the Spanish born artist had become the most well-known name in modern art, with a distinct style. There had been no other artists, prior to Picasso, who had such an impact on the art world, or had a mass following of fans and critics alike.

Picasso was born in Spain in 1881, and was raised there before going on to spend most of his adult life working as an artist in France. Throughout his long career, he created more than 20,000 paintings, drawings, sculptures, ceramics and other items such as costumes and theater sets. He is universally renowned as one of the most influential and celebrated artists of the twentieth century who was able to produce works in an astonishing range of styles.

After his death in 1973 his value as an artist and inspiration to other artists has only grown. He was responsible for co-founding the entire Cubist movement alongside Georges Braque. Cubism was an avant-garde art movement that changed forever the face of European painting and sculpture while simultaneously affecting contemporary architecture, music and literature.

Picasso Artwork
Picasso Artwork

Subjects and objects in Cubism are broken up into pieces and re-arranged in an abstract form. During the period from approximately 1910-1920 when Picasso and Braque were laying the foundation for Cubism in France, it inspired offshoots like the styles of Futurism, Dada, and Constructivism in other countries.

When Picasso died at age 91 in April 1973, he was described by his admirers as the Leonardo da Vinci of the 20th Century, Picasso’s true greatness and significance lie in his dual role as revolutionary and traditionalist at once. Uniquely in the 20th century he was capable of radical innovation on the one hand but on the other of continuing traditional lines. Thus in Les Demoiselles d’Avignon he vanquished the representational picture, while in Guernica he revived  the genre of historical painting in a new form .

Picasso is also undeniably the most prolific artist  in history .His career spanned almost 80  years , in which he created: 13,500 paintings, 100,000 prints and engravings, and 34,000 illustrations.

Picasso’s free spirit, his eccentric style, and his complete disregard for what others thought of his work and creative style, made him a catalyst for artists to follow. Now known as the father of modern art, Picasso’s life and works continue to invite countless scholarly interpretations and attract thousands of followers around the world.

His works are celebrated in museums around the world including those dedicated solely  to his work  such as the Picasso Museum in Paris , and museums in Barcelona and Malaga, the place of his birth.


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