Pablo Picasso is one of the most prolific artists in the world, famous for his paintings, sculptures, and poems. He is one of the pioneers of Cubism alongside his friend and fellow artist Georges Braque. His career was defined by innovation, developing various styles which have influenced countless future artists. For more about the legendary Picasso, here are the following facts:
1. Picasso’s full name contains 23 words.
- His name was inspired by several family members and religious figures. He was baptized Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruíz y Picasso.
- His preferred surname came from his mother, Maria Picasso y Lopez.
2. He was prodigious in art from a very early age.
- It is said that his first words were “piz piz”, a shortened version of the word “lápiz” (Spanish for pencil).
- His father, an art professor and artist himself, gave Pablo formal classes when he was 7. By 13, he had surpassed his father in painting.
3. He detested rigidity and formality.
- He was admitted to prestigious art schools, but became frustrated with their rules and classical methods. He skipped classes and roamed the streets, sketching and painting the city, as well as beggars, prostitutes and gypsies.
- He befriended a group of intellectuals and artists who inspired him to break away from classical techniques and take a more radical approach to art.
4. His painting “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” is the precursor to the cubism movement.
- Picasso depicted five nude prostitutes using a distorted and abstract technique with sharp geometric features. The title was a reference to the popular brothels found on Avignon Street.
- The work was a departure from the classical ideals of beauty and caused public outcry. Despite interest from collectors, Picasso kept it hidden for several years.
5. Different events in his life led him to use different styles.
- He used cool colors after the suicide of his friend, and warm colors when he fell madly in love. He revisited classical techniques during World War I before moving on to surrealism, a product of his own cubism.
- Later on, his style became childlike and simple. He used crayon and pencil to create the epitome of his twilight years, “Self Portrait Facing Death.” Upon passing a group of school children, he said, “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.”
6. He was a womanizer and left behind a dysfunctional family.
- He lost his virginity at 13 or 14 at a brothel and had a long string of lovers since then. They were required to be submissive and shorter than him.
- He married only twice, and had four children and eight grandchildren. Of the six most notable women in Picasso’s life, two went mad and two committed suicide.
Despite his controversial personal life, Picasso’s extraordinary talents have shaped the 20th century and turned him into a legend. His many contributions to modern art have left behind a large body work containing some of the most celebrated (and coveted) masterpieces.