Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) Part III

It was a confluence of influences – from Paul Cézanne and Henri Rousseau, to archaic and tribal art – that encouraged Picasso to lend his figures more weight and structure around 1907. And they ultimately set him on the path towards Cubism, in which he deconstructed the conventions of perspective that had dominated Renaissance art. During this period, the style Georges Braque and Picasso developed used mainly neutral colors and was based in they’re “taking apart” objects and “analyzing them” in terms of their shapes.Cubism, especially the second form, known as Synthetic Cubism, played a great role in the development of western art world. Works of this phase emphasize the combination, or synthesis, of forms in the picture. Colour is extremely important in the objects’ shapes because they become larger and more decorative. Non-painted objects such as newspapers or tobacco wrappers, are frequently pasted on the canvas in combination with painted areas – the incorporation of a wide variety of extraneous materials is particularly associated with Picasso’s novel technique of collage. This collage technique emphasizes the differences in texture and poses the question of what is reality and what is illusion in painting. With his use of color, shape and geometrical figures, and his unique approach to depict images, Picasso changed the direction of art for generations to come.



With an unsurpassed mastery of technique and skill, Picasso made his first trip to Italy in 1917 and promptly began a period of tribute to neoclassical style. Breaking from the extreme modernism he drew and painted work reminiscent of Raphael and Ingres. This was just a prelude before Picasso seemingly effortlessly began to combine his modernist concepts with his skill into surrealist masterpieces like Guernica, (1937), a frenzied and masterful combination of style that embodies the despair of war. Guernica is considered as the most powerful anti-war statement of modern art. It was done to showcase Picasso’s support towards ending war, and a condemnation on fascism in general. From the beginning, Picasso chooses not to represent the horror of Guernica in realist or romantic terms. Key figures – a woman with outstretched arms, a bull, an agonized horse – are refined in sketch after sketch, then transferred to the capacious canvas, which he also reworks several times. Dark color and monochrome theme were used to depict the trying times, and the anguish which was being suffered. Guernica challenges the notions of warfare as heroic and exposes it as a brutal act of self-destruction. The works was not only a practical report or painting but also stays as a highly powerful political picture in modern art, rivaled by a few fresco paintings by Mexican artist Diego Rivera.

With an unsurpassed mastery of technique and skill, Picasso made his first trip to Italy in 1917 and promptly began a period of tribute to neoclassical style. Breaking from the extreme modernism he drew and painted work reminiscent of Raphael and Ingres. This was just a prelude before Picasso seemingly effortlessly began to combine his modernist concepts with his skill into surrealist masterpieces like Guernica, (1937), a frenzied and masterful combination of style that embodies the despair of war. Guernica is considered as the most powerful anti-war statement of modern art. It was done to showcase Picasso’s support towards ending war, and a condemnation on fascism in general. From the beginning, Picasso chooses not to represent the horror of Guernica in realist or romantic terms. Key figures – a woman with outstretched arms, a bull, an agonized horse – are refined in sketch after sketch, then transferred to the capacious canvas, which he also reworks several times. Dark color and monochrome theme were used to depict the trying times, and the anguish which was being suffered. Guernica challenges the notions of warfare as heroic and exposes it as a brutal act of self-destruction. The works was not only a practical report or painting but also stays as a highly powerful political picture in modern art, rivaled by a few fresco paintings by Mexican artist Diego Rivera.

When Picasso died at age 91 in April 1973, he had become one of the most famous and successful artist throughout history. Da Vinci of the 20th Century, Picasso’s true greatness and significance lie in his dual role as revolutionary and traditionalist at once. Uniquely in the 20th century he was capable of radical innovation on the one hand but on the other of continuing traditional lines. Thus in Les Demoiselles d’Avignon he vanquished the representational picture, while in Guernica he revive the genre of historial painting in a new form. He is also undeniably the most prolific genius in the history of art. His career spanned over a 78 year period, in which he created: 13,500 paintings, 100,000 prints and engravings, and 34,000 illustrations. Picasso was, and still is, seen as a magician by writers and critics, a metaphor that captures both the sense of an artist who is able to transform everything around him at a touch and a man who can also transform himself, elude us, fascinate and mesmerise us.

Just like William Shakespeare on literature, and Sigmund Freud on psychology, Picasso’s impact on art is tremendous. No one has achieved the same degree of widespread fame or displayed such incredible versatility as Pablo Picasso has in the art history. Picasso’s free spirit, his eccentric style, and his complete disregard for what others thought of his work and creative style, made him a catalyst for artists to follow. Now known as the father of modern art, Picasso’s originality touched every major artist and art movement that followed in his wake. Even as of today, his life and works continue to invite countless scholarly interpretation and attract thousands of followers around the world.

See the beginning of this article in part I; part II




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