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Pablo Picasso

Big Thinkers

“Everything you can imagine is real.”

Despite Picasso’s groundbreaking and unusual style, he had first received classical training in Barcelona and then Madrid. Picasso found inspiration in areas that were not typically documented within classical art, finding prostitutes and beggars to be his subjects. With his classical training behind him, Picasso began on a lifelong course of experimentation.

Picasso and his friend Georges Braque are both attributed with the creation of cubism as they worked together to challenge the perception of modern art. Their first step towards cubism can be seen in the piece Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, which depicted 5 naked prostitutes in an abstract and blotchy style. The idea behind cubism was to portray the world from multiple viewpoints instead of just one, making their audience do the work, as they try to work out what they can see.

Although it was not well received by all critics, cubism is acknowledged as one of the most influential styles of modern art and changed perceptions for artists and audiences alike.

Play
One only has to read a few quotes to surmise that Picasso had a healthy appetite for play and experimentation: “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up,” and “The chief enemy of creativity is ‘good’ sense.” And then there’s our favourite: “Everything you can imagine is real”. Picasso also took inspiration from everywhere – for example some of the figures in Les Demoiselles d’Avignon were inspired by African artifacts.

Collaborate
As well as his collaboration with Braque, Picasso embarked on a number of creative partnerships – for example he and composer Igor Stravinsky collaborated on Pulcinella in 1920.

Produce
Although his style changed throughout the years, Picasso was a prolific artist and was continuously creative throughout his life. He is listed in the Guinness World Records as the most prolific painter – counting 13,500 paintings and designs, 100,000 prints and engravings, 34,000 book illustrations and 300 sculptures and ceramics. By maintaining this level of creativity he gave himself the best possible chance of creating a groundbreaking artistic movement.

Factoids

  • His full name was 23 words long; Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruíz y Picasso
  • In 1911 when the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre, Picasso himself was brought in by the police for questioning.
  • More of his paintings have been stolen than any other artist’s, with over 500 of his works listed as missing.
  • Picasso’s paintings are now considered to be some of the most expensive paintings in the world. Nude, Green Leaves and Bust was sold in 2010 for $106.5 million.

Image credit: “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” by Pablo Picasso – Museum of Modern Art, New York. Via Wikipedia

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