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Early life

Pablo Picasso - .

Pablo Picasso, formally Pablo Ruiz Picasso, (October 25, 1881 - April 8, 1973) was one of the recognized masters of 20th century art. Overview His name in full was Pablo (or Pablito) Diego Jose Santiago Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno Crispin Crispiniano de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santisima Trinidad Ruiz Blasco y Picasso Lopez. His father was Jose Ruiz y Blasco; his mother, Maria Picasso y Lopez. In his early years he signed his name Ruiz Blasco after his father but, from about 1901 on, switched to using his mother's name. Picasso was born in Malaga, Spain, and is probably most famous as the founder, along with Georges Braque, of Cubism. However in a long life he produced a wide and varied body of work, the best-known being the Blue Period works which feature moving depictions of acrobats, harlequins, prostitutes, beggars and artists. While Picasso was primarily a painter (in fact he believed that an artist must paint in order to be considered a true artist), he also worked with small ceramic and bronze sculptures, collage and even produced some poetry. "Je suis aussi un poete," as he quipped to his friends. Several paintings by Picasso rank among the most expensive paintings in the world. On May 4, 2004 Picasso's painting Garcon a la Pipe was sold for USD $104 million at Sotheby's, thus establishing a new price record (see also List of most expensive paintings).
 

Picasso hated to be alone when he wasn't working. In Paris, in addition to having a distinguished coterie of friends in the Montmartre and Montparnasse quarters, including Andre Breton, Guillaume Apollinaire, writer Gertrude Stein and others, he usually maintained a number of mistresses in addition to his wife or primary partner.

In the 1915 photograph seen here is friends (left to right): Manuel Ortiz de Zarate, Henri-Pierre Roche (in uniform), Marie Vassilieff, Max Jacob and Pablo Picasso.

Picasso's most famous work is probably his depiction of the German bombing of Guernica, Spain; the Guernica (painting). This large canvas embodies for many the inhumanity, brutality and hopelessness of war. The painting of the picture was captured in a series of photographs by Picasso's most famous lover, Dora Maar, a distinguished artist in her own right. A Nazi officer is supposed to have come to his door brandishing a postcard and demanding, "Did you do this?" "No," Picasso is supposed to have replied, "you did." The Guernica hung in New York's Museum of Modern Art for many years; Picasso stipulated that the painting should not return to Spain until democracy was restored in that country. In 1981 the Guernica was returned to Spain and exhibited at the Cason del Buen Retiro. In 1992 the painting became one of the main attractions in Madrid's Museo de La Reina Sofia (Queen Sofia's Museum) when it opened.

As certain works, for example the Cubist pieces, tend to be associated in the public mind with Picasso, it is important to realize how talented Picasso was as a painter and draughtsman. He was capable of working with oils, watercolours, pastels, charcoal, pencil, ink, or indeed any medium with equally high facility. With his most extreme cubist works he came close to deconstructing a complex scene into just a few geometric shapes while at the same time being capable of photo-realistic pen and ink sketches of his friends. Picasso had a massive talent for almost any artistic endeavor he turned his mind to, despite limited formal academic training (he finished only one year of his course of study at the Royal Academy in Madrid), and a ferocious work-ethic.

Picasso's father, Jose Ruiz y Blasco, was himself a painter and for most of his life was a professor of art at Spanish colleges. It is from Don Jose that Picasso learned the basics of formal academic art training figure drawing, and painting in oil. Although Picasso attended art schools thoughout his childhood, often those his father taught at, he never finished his college level course of study at the Royal Academy of San Fernando in Madrid, leaving after less than a year.

The Picasso Museum in Barcelona features many of Picasso's early works, created while he was living in Spain, as well as the extensive collection of Jaime Sabartes, Picasso's close friend from his Barcelona days, and for many years, Picasso's personal secretary. There are many precise and detailed figure studies done in his youth under his father's tutelage that clearly demonstrate his firm grounding in classical techniques, as well as rarely seen works from his old age.




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