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Why Is Pablo Picasso Important Essay

Quite possibly one of the most innovative and greatest artists of the past century, Pablo Picasso has certainly earned an important position in art history. Born in the city of Malaga on the southern coast of Spain on October 25, 1881, Picasso had a rather unprecedented start. Apparently as Picasso had told the story he was deemed a stillborn, as he had failed to breath, and was abandoned by the midwife. However, with an odd twist of fate his uncle—who was a doctor—was there at the time and had saved his life by blowing cigar smoke in his nose (Wertenbaker).

After a short time he learned to draw, even before he could talk as according to his mother his first words were “piz, piz” for lapiz—the Spanish word for pencil—eventually explaining to his family the spirals that he would trace and cover entire sheets with were torruellas (aka spun sugar cakes that get their name from a word meaning “to bewilder or entangle). After noticing his early abilities with the arts his father was quick to jump in and start teaching his son about art by the time he was seven. Soon after he started to attend art schools his first in La Coruna, to Barcelona, and finally made his way to Madrid.

With his artistic abilities he easily into the school of fine arts in Academia de San Fernando in Madrid, of which didn’t complete as he only spent a little under a year studying there, when he decided that he would do as he pleased. He had grown bored and tired of any form of academic training due to its limited subject matter and emphasis on copying previous styles. Thus he began his artistic journey and went to Paris, where the impressionist had established and where perfecting their technique, traveling back and forth from France to Spain and vice versa.

From there his art career would blossom and grow or years to come going through several “periods” and developing thousands of works of various materials and talents. Among these periods includes the Blue period and then his Red period, during which he contributed majorly to cubism, and learned and worked with other mediums and materials including; sculpting with wood, metal, clay, and stone, painting in various forms and styles, etching, and sketching. From an early age Picasso was sketching and drawing, in fact it was one of the first things he learned to do, drawing swirls and lines over sheet after sheet of paper.

He eventually learned more about sketching and started to broaden his horizons sketching everything he could, pidgins, horses, people, whatever caught his attention and he felt the need to draw. In his youth his sketches consisted of animals mainly; pidgins, horses, and other animals around his home city of Malaga. He got to the point where he could start wherever he wished on the beast, whether it be the stomach, tail, back, head, or legs, any part could be readily drawn in detail and the rest was drawn from there.

This ability continued on into his schooling days, sketching models, nudes, and objects for projects or for entry into a school (some of which are still in the school’s possession) or for his own personal reasons. He eventually broke away from the schooling and went on his own path, now in Madrid, sketching everything from the rich man in the street, to the beggars, to even cafes and other scenes from around the city. Most of these works didn’t survive, as he ran low on funds from his uncle and father when he quit attending classes.

After this he left for London, however, on the way they stopped in Paris and didn’t leave for quite some time. Instead of continuing for London, Picasso went back to Spain combining his newfound abilities with Spanish subjects. During which he continued to sketch but to a lesser degree as he focused more on painting. However, he continued to draw, sketching into the later years of his life, including several people he had met over the years in various styles and detail some in a more abstract approach than others who looked fairly realistic.

He continued with this portion of his work into his later years having covered a variety of subjects, most usually for preemptive designs for finished works. An example of which is the Guernica a famous work by Picasso detailing an attack on a town (also called Guernica) during the Spanish civil war, in which German bombers destroyed the little city and killed many innocent civilians, in a fairly abstract way starting from a quick doodle (which is fairly illegible to almost anyone who wasn’t Picasso himself, present when he drew it, or hadn’t seen the chaos for themselves).

Several preemptive sketches went into the final production of this painting showing how one part of his artistic abilities affected the others. His paintings are some of the most renowned works and most prolific of most any artist. Also starting at a young age, he had quickly mastered the basics by the time he was fourteen. Starting out with a style based off of his father’s Picasso learned to be realistic with his work. However, over time he started to change it going with a more expressive touch in his later teen years.

Once he left Spain, at the age of nineteen, going back to Paris three times over that course of time, eventually settling on calling it home for the time being. By the time he reached twenty five he had honed his natural abilities into what would later be best known as his style. Around the years 1901 to 1904 Picasso went through what is now known as his Blue period. This period was brought on by the death of a close friend, Carles Casagemas, who shot himself. This horrifying death deeply affected Picasso. With his own personal issues combined he started to paint with his mood.

During this period Picasso painted with “Melancholic, cold tones, predominantly blue” (Wertenbaker)—thus how the period got its name—to reflect his inner pain. In this time period he painted several paintings one of his first being Harlequin, which shared some similarities from one of his inspirations Vincent Van Gogh. However, during this time Picasso started to show more and more individuality, although he still shared and borrowed several ideas from other artist, making such works as The Old Guitarist which would be one of his most known works.

Among his other works was The Absinthe Drinker an almost pure representation of his melancholy mood. This mood abruptly changed, however, giving way to lighter and brighter hues around late 1904. Put simply young Picasso had fallen in love for the very first time. Due to this his color pallet brightened dramatically, turning to reds, pinks, and oranges. Many of the paintings from this period sported reds that it quickly took the name of the Rose period. With the sharp change in color also came a sharp change in subject matter for Picasso’s works.

One of the very first paintings of this period was The Family of Acrobats with Ape, a painting of some members of the Medrano Circus, which was one of the more tender and gentle of the paintings of the many members of this Circus. Within all properties the style of Picasso’s work slowly began to change once more, slowly growing a little less exuberant than his beginning paintings of the period. Over time it got to the point that Picasso focused more on the figures in the paintings than of the mood in them, still holding some of the past qualities from the two previous periods.

By the end of this period a new idea was being to be formed in the creative mind of his something that the art world would either loath or learn from. Picasso set to work on his newest form around 1906 not even a third of the way into his life, although this would be an important part of his legacy. He set out to make his first painting for this new style feverously, probably one of the lengthiest preparations he had done at any degree. This would be large one of the biggest he had made up to that point. The painting Demoiselles was so daring that it took years for anyone to finally appreciate its innovation.

With it was the beginnings of the birth of Cubism as he had yet to reach its higher points in fact it was just the beginning for Picasso as Cubism would stretch on even into his later years up until his death at the age of 91. It started out with the simple changes in Demoiselles d’Avigonon to the point that it eventually became a prominent part of his style such as in Las Meninas painted in October of 1957 based off of Diego Velazquez’s Las Meninas and was painted a couple of different ways one with several colors one with more blues, very reminiscent of his Blue period.

Of course his style evolved over time using elements from previous styles as he continued to paint and change in form and style. Over the course of many years Picasso chalked up thousands of works, some more liked in their time than others, while going through his life style ever evolving and changing. From the time he was a boy Pablo Picasso was a talented artist, his family noticed it and guided young Pablo on a path that they never imagined would turn their young child into an old art master.

He created some of the world’s most astonishing works some of which shocked the art-world to its core. From his earliest works that deviated from the realistic style that Spaniards had stuck to for centuries, such as Tavern Interior from his earlier days in 1897, to The Old Guitarist and Woman Ironing from his Blue period, to the stunning start to Cubism with Demoiselles d’Avigonon, to his later years and the memoriam that Guernica provided for the deaths in the little town destroyed in the dark days of the Spanish Civil War.

In his later years Picasso had even made several sculptures of various subjects and sizes, ranging from owls, to fish, and women models. Most were small but there were other larger projects made of metal or of random parts that he had found and put together. Ingenuity had always been an important part of Pablo Picasso from a young age, always looking for ways to constantly feed or channel his creativity, even trying styles that where highly different from his own for the sake of trying something new.

He had done so much with art that many artist found themselves in strong competition with the Spaniard, among them Matisse in Picasso’s younger years. Picasso had truly thought of many things and had made the bulk of some of the most famous works of the early to mid-twentieth century.

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