Pablo Picasso was born October 25th 1881 in Malaga, Spain. Sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist and stage designer, he spent most of his adult life in France.
The blue period 1901-1904
Picasso’s Blue Period consists of sombre paintings rendered in shades of blue and blue-green, only occasionally warmed by other colours.
This period’s starting point is most certainly the suicide of his friend Carlos Casagemas. Many paintings of gaunt mothers with children date from this period. In his austere use of colour and sometimes doleful subject matter: prostitutes and beggars are frequent subjects.
In autumn of 1901 he painted several posthumous portraits of Casagemas, culminating in the gloomy allegorical painting La Vie (1903),
The Pink Period. (1904-1906 )
The Rose Period is characterized by a more cheery style with orange and pink colours, and featuring many circus people, acrobats and harlequins known in France as saltimbanques. The harlequin, a comedic character usually depicted in chequered patterned clothing, became a personal symbol for Picasso.
Picasso’s African-influenced Period (1907–1909) begins with the two figures on the right in his painting, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, which were inspired by African artefacts. Formal ideas developed during this period lead directly into the Cubist period that follows.
Analytic cubism (1909–1912) is a style of painting Picasso developed along with Georges Braque using monochrome brownish and neutral colours.
Both artists took apart objects and "analyzed" them in terms of their shapes. Picasso and Braque’s paintings at this time have many similarities.
Synthetic cubism (1912–1919) was a further development of the genre, in which cut paper fragments – often wallpaper or portions of newspaper pages were pasted into compositions, marking the first use of collage in fine art. Cubism represent on the canvas not only one side of the subject, but a view which simultaneously show all the sides of the subject. Cubism will influence many painters among which Juan Gris, Francis Picabia, Brancusi, and others.
Collages and assemblages
The first collages and the first assemblages are created during the winter of 1912. ''Nature morte à la chaise cannée'' ; ''Guitare en carton''. Picasso paints ''Le Verre d'absinthe'' in the spring of 1914. After leaving for Avignon in June, he goes back to painting portraits.
The Russian Ballet
During the First World War, Picasso goes to Rome with Jean Cocteau. In may of 1916, he is introduced to Sergey Diaghilev.
He will work as stage designer for the Léonide Massine's ''Parade'' ballet. He also works for the Diaghilev's Ballets Russes.
He will meet Stravinsky and a dancer named Olga Khokhlova who will become his wife.
In the period following the upheaval of World War I, Picasso produced work in a neoclassical style. This ''return to order'' is evident in the work of many European artists in the 1920s. Picasso’s paintings and drawings from this period frequently recall the work of Raphael and Ingres.
During the 1930s, the Minotaur replaced harlequin as a common motif in his work. His use of the Minotaur came partly from his contact with the surrealists who often used it as their symbol, and it appears in Picasso’s Guernica.
Picasso will need help for the realisation of the ''Monument pour Guillaume Apollinaire'' He will contact Julio Gonzalez, a Catalan sculptor whom he met in Barcelona and who is living like him in Paris since 1900.
Both artists will work together from 1928 until July of 1932 on sculptures of forged and welded steel.
Arguably Picasso's most famous work is his depiction of the German bombing of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War.
This large canvas embodies for many the inhumanity, brutality and hopelessness of war. Picasso said of Guernica:
''This painting was not created to decorate an apartment. It is a war instrument to attack the enemy "Guernica symbolizes the horror and anger that war and the death of so many innocent people inspired the artist.
The bullfighting is a recurrent motif in Picasso's work from his early childhood in his parents' home in Malaga until the 1960s.
Very young, he would go with his father to the corrida in the arenas of Malaga. When living in France, he assisted to the bullfights at the arenas of Arrles, and Nîmes.
Picasso died on April 8th 1973 at Mougins, in France.
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