[Type text]
A. Mackey
Art 1020
Research Paper: Biography of Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso is one of the most famous artists of the twentieth century. Some of
his most famous paintings include The Old Guitarist (1903), Les Demoiselles d’Avignon
(1907), and Guernica (1937). Throughout Picasso’s life he made about 22,000 works of
art beginning in his early childhood and continuing through his adulthood even up until
his death.
Pablo Picasso was born October 25, 1881 in Malaga, Spain. His full name was
Pablo Diego Jose Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno Maria de los Remedios
Cipriano de la Santisima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruiz y Picasso (Pablo). His
parents were Jose Ruiz Blasco and Maria Picasso y Lopez. Picasso’s father Jose Ruiz
Blasco was an art teacher and a painter (Pablo). Picasso had two younger sisters
Dolores, also called Lola and Concepcion, also called Conchita. Concepcion passed
away at the age of four. It is rumored that “his first words were ‘piz, piz,’” an attempt at
saying “lapis,” which is the Spanish word for “pencil” (Pablo). At the age of five Picasso
started to take drawing lesions at his school in Malaga. However he did not start
painting until he was eight years old (Jansen). By the age of thirteen Picasso‘s skill level
“surpassed his father’s” (Pablo). He and his family then moved to Barcelona, Spain a
year later. While in Barcelona Picasso was accepted into the School of Fine Arts.
However he started to skip classes “so that he could roam the streets of Barcelona to
sketch the city scenes that he observed” (Pablo). At sixteen years old Picasso moved to
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Madrid to “attend the Royal Academy of San Fernando” (Pablo). After about a year at
the Royal Academy of San Fernando he dropped out because he felt that they had
nothing new to offer him. His parents never forgave him for dropping out of school.
Picasso then moved back to Barcelona where he broke away from the “classical
methods in which he had been trained, and began what would become a lifelong
process of experimentation and innovation” (Pablo).
In 1900 Picasso moved to Paris, France so that he could open up his own studio.
He then started what is now known as his “Blue Period” in 1901 and it lasted until 1904.
His “Blue Period” consisted of a series of paintings where the color blue is dominant.
After the death of his friend Carlos Casagemas he became depressed and lonely. He
began to paint scenes of poverty, isolation, and anguish which showed his depression.
An example of this is his painting The Old Guitarist, 1903 (see Appendix: Figure 1). In
1904 after his “Blue Period” he began to work with beiges, pinks, and reds. This
became known as his “Rose Period” which lasted until 1906. During this time he found
his style as a figurative painter. One of his most famous paintings during this time is the
Portrait of Gertrude Stein, 1906 (see Appendix: Figure 2). Picasso had mostly overcome
his depression by 1905 and had fallen in love with a model named Fernande Olivier.
After his “Rose Period” he began his “Black Period” which is from 1906 to 1907. During
this time Picasso became fascinated with African art. He based a series of drawings,
paintings, and woodcarvings on African art which then lead to the creation of Les
Demoiselles d’Avignon (see Appendix: Figure 3). Later in his life he would deny being
influenced by African art while creating Les Demoiselles d’Avignon due to political
reasons (Jansen). Even though Les Demoiselles d’Avignon was inspired by African art it
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is also considered the inspiration of Cubism. Picasso, as well as Georges Braque,
created Cubism around 1907. Cubist paintings contain objects that are “broken apart
and reassembled in an abstracted form, highlighting their composite geometric shapes
and depicting them from multiple, simultaneous viewpoints in order to create physicsdefying, collage-like effects” (Pablo). During Cubism “experiments by Picasso and
others resulted in several new techniques, including collage and papier colle” (The Life).
In 1918 Picasso began to work on his “Classical Period” which lasted until 1927. World
War I inspired this great change in Picasso’s art. During this time he briefly returns to
Realism. Some of his most interesting works from this period include the painting Three
Women at the Spring, 1921(see Appendix: Figure 4). Also during this time Picasso
married his first wife Olga Khokhlova in 1918 and they separated in 1927. After
separating from his wife Picasso became caught up in Surrealism from 1927 onward.
During the Spanish Civil War Picasso became “outraged by the bombing” of the Basque
town of Guernica “and the inhumanity of war” and ended up painting Guernica, 1937
(see Appendix: Figure 5) (Pablo). Guernica is “a Surrealist testament to the horrors of
war, and features a minotaur and several human-like figures in various states of
anguish and terror” (Pablo). To this day Guernica, 1937 “remains one of the most
moving and powerful anti-war paintings in history” (Pablo).
In 1947 Picasso moved to the South of France (The Life). After World War II
Picasso joined the Communist Party and was honored with the International Lenin
Peace Prize in 1950 and in 1961 (Pablo). He also married his second wife Jacqueline
Roque in 1961. By the mid-1900s he became an international celebrity and also “the
world’s most famous living artist” (Pablo). Later in his life his “paintings display simple,
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childlike imagery and crude technique” (Pablo). An example of this is his Self Portrait
Facing Death, 1972. This was made with pencil and crayon. He created this a year
before his death. He died on April 8, 1973 in Mougins, France at the age of 91. He left
behind four children: Paul, Maya, Claude, and Paloma as well as his life’s work and
In conclusion, Picasso was an influential artist. However it took him his entire life
to learn how to draw like a child. One of his famous quotes is “When I was as old as
these children, I could draw like Raphael, but it took me a lifetime to learn to draw like
them” (Pablo).
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Figure 1: The Old Guitarist, 1903
Figure 2: Portrait of Gertrude Stein, 1906
Figure 3: Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, 1907 Figure 4: Three Women at the Spring, 1921
Figure 5: Guernica, 1937
Figure 6: Self Portrait Facing Death, 1972
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Jansen, Marten. "Pablo Picasso, life and work." Pablo Picasso, life and work. pictorght,
n.d. Web. 3 May 2014. <>.
"Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios
Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruíz y Picasso." 2014.
The website. May 06 2014
"The Life of Picasso." N.p., n.d. Web. 4 May 2014.