Pablo Picasso is considered to be one of the most important artists of the twentieth century. Pablo Ruiz Picasso was born October 25, 1881 in Malaga in Spain. Pablo Picasso was the first son of Jose Ruiz y Blasco and Maria Picasso y Lopez. His father was a painter and a professor of art at the School of Crafts and the curator of a local museum. Pablo Picasso learned the basics of art from his father. Picasso also attended the Academy of Arts in Madrid but dropped out within a year of joining it.
While Pablo Picasso showed great artistic promise growing up, he really began to thrive creatively once he moved to Paris in the early 1900s. There Pablo Picasso was exposed to works of other artists and developed friendships with some of them, including Georges Braque. He made his first trip to Paris in 1900 and loved the city. Pablo Picasso lived with a friend Max Jacob who was a journalist and a poet. Max worked in the day and slept in the night, while Picasso slept during the day and worked during the night. Those were hard times for Picasso and he burned many of his paintings to keep himself warm. In 1901, Picasso started a magazine called ‘Arte Joven’ in Madrid with his friend Soler. Pablo Picasso completely illustrated the first edition of the magazine. It was at this point that Pablo Picasso began to sign his paintings as simply "Picasso”. While in Paris, Pablo Picasso had a propensity for entertaining and had among his friends’ people such as Andre Breton and Gertrude Stein. Picasso also had an active love life and usually had several mistresses along with a wife or a primary partner.
With a career that spanned more than seven decades, Picasso's work is often categorized into different periods and associated with a number of artistic movements. From 1899 to 1900 was a period where Picasso was creating paintings in a Modernist style. His early years in Paris (1901-1904) coincide with his Blue period. It is called the blue period because most of his paintings were in shades of blue and blue-green and also because of his general mood at this time. The subjects of these paintings were prostitutes and beggars. Blindness and destitution were an integral part of this theme of paintings. It was also during this time, that Pablo Picasso began using the image of a harlequin, in checkered clothing, as his personal motif in his paintings.
One of the famous paintings by Pablo Picasso during this period was ‘La Vie’. It is an important work from the blue period and stand almost 2 meters tall. The scene of three adult figures and one baby is set in the artist's studio, with two incomplete nude studies in the background. The male nude figure is said to be of Picasso's friend Carlos Casagemas. Casagemas committed suicide after being rejected by his lover. "La Vie" is a painting that has been discussed and interpreted by many art critics and writers, but Picasso never gave his own personal interpretation of the painting. Pablo Picasso reworked the painting several times and did several studies for La Vie. It is also the largest and most complex work from the blue period.
"Art is not the application of a canon of beauty but what the instinct and the brain can conceive beyond any canon. When we love a woman, we don’t start measuring her limbs."
The Rose Period started in 1904, a year in which Picasso alternated paintings in the "blue style", dark colored (often blueish) and downbeat, with paintings made in his "rose style", which are somewhat more optimistic in mood and brighter colored (often using the color pink). So 1904 is a transitional year and belongs neither truly to the blue period, nor to the rose period. Picasso's paintings became cheerful with the use of orange and pink colors. There were many harlequins featured in this time period also. It was this style of Cubism—the style in which the artist breaks down his or her subjects into geometric shapes—that put Picasso in the spotlight. One of his paintings in this style Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907) shocked critics and friends alike when it was exhibited. The painting depicts five prostitutes in a brothel from Avinyó street in Barcelona. The eye-catching painting is one of Picasso's most famous, widely considered to be a seminal work in the early development of Cubism.
Picasso created hundreds of sketches and studies in preparation for this work. He made the painting in Paris and stopped working on it in the summer of 1907. At the time of its first exhibition in 1916, the painting was deemed immoral. The art critic André Salmon gave it its current name; Picasso had always called it Le Bordel ("The Brothel"). It now belongs to the Museum of Modern Art in New York City which acquired it in 1939.
Later Picasso sought a different type of reaction from his painting. "Guernica" (1937), is thought to be one of Picasso's greatest works. Created during his Surrealist period, Picasso captures the horror of the bombing of the Basque town of Guernica, which killed many innocent civilians during the Spanish Civil War. By the end of World War II, Picasso had become an internationally known artist and celebrity. A highly productive artist, Pablo Picasso created a large number of works during his lifetime.