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Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso stands out as the quintessential 20th century artist: his legacy encompasses a broad range of styles, several decades of close-knit relationship with European culture, and an intense, vibrant artistic evolution.

A child prodigy, Picasso started working in realism, progressing in his twenties into the “Blue Period,” and subsequently “Rose Period” – two personal styles that established him as a major artist, and presented the world with some of the most moving images ever put on canvas.

His next step, the development of Cubism, marked a culmination point in abstract art: today Picasso's cubist paintings (and such prototypes as Les Demoiselles D'Avignon), as well as their collage and mixed media counterparts are placed among the highest achievements of contemporary Western civilization.

Picasso late oeuvre involved drawing, sculpture, ceramics, and creation of pieces that quote other painters' work. He painted in Surrealist, and Classicist styles, eventually settling for an eclectic mix of trends, designed to match his individual artistic vision.

Pablo Picasso Photograph
Pablo Picasso Photograph

Decorating with Picasso Prints

The prestige and recognition of the name Picasso is so high, that it's practically impossible to go wrong when decorating with prints, posters, tapestries, and other form of wall art reproducing his work.

The artwork can be categorized, in general terms, as either figurative (mostly early pieces, in particular from blue and Rose periods), and abstract (Cubism in all its subgenres and trends). Various combinations of surrealism and eclectic styles unique to Picasso involve both figurative and abstract elements.

The Blue Period

This stage in the artist's career includes some of his most emotional and sentimentally revelatory and loaded pieces. The color blue – in its many shades and tints – permeates the compositions, dominating the palette unreservedly, conveying a profound, inescapable sadness. It is known historically that the trigger for this creative period in young Picasso's life was the death of a very close friend (Carlos Casemagas), one who the painter grieved deeply.

Paintings

  • The Old Guitarist constitutes a rare piece in that it focuses on a single large figure (many of the Blue Period paintings portray familial or social groups), apparently of a blind and very old man: his legs form an “X”, and his torso and guitar also criss-cross to imply this shape. The sense of defeat and loss is countered by compositional sweetness and the implication of a distant guitar sound – the overall emotional mix is at once timeless and immediate. A quintessential “blue” work.

  • La Vie is another blue classic: an enigmatic painting that seems to tap into universal themes of love, family, and birth. Though imbued with the cool color, it is not alien to serene optimism – the balance between the mother and the couple is soothing, and the large bed in between also brings to mind comfort and warmth.

  • Boy with a Pipe stands out as one of Picasso's best known Rose Period paintings. The background is reddish in tone, while the model wears a blue garment (both referencing the previous stage and acting as palette balance for the backdrop); he could be one of the clowns or actors Picasso lived among (and depicted) at that time. The general tone of the piece denotes a transition towards a more rounded, multi-dimensional view of life – Picasso has overcome his grief, and reveals notes of optimism and joy for life. Maternity, another work from that time, expands the emotional palette by adding shades of tenderness, unconditional love, and security.

  • Les Demoiselles D'Avignon, probably Picasso's most controversial and influential work, marks a transition towards abstract art, and includes notable African influences (masks in particular). Its unrepenting, bold subjects emit raw energy that would come to define much of 20th century's cultural climate, even after the wars.

  • Three Musicians and The Lesson demonstrate Picasso's mastery of the Cubist style – of which he was one of the inventors – deconstructed shapes that tentatively form a human shape, rich use of color complements the composition and helps decipher it and, ironic, multi-faceted atmosphere that oozes maturity and almost philosophical wisdom. Our favorite pieces. Guernica, a later creation, combines above mentioned cubist elements with earlier African patterns, adds a few touches of surrealism, and desaturates the palette – resulting in an immensely powerful anti-war statement, filled with sadness, agony, and rage.

  • Animals, all drawn in schematic and largely caricaturist fashion unveil the comic and kind-hearted side of Pablo Picasso. Mice, dogs, penguins, owls, camels, butterflies, horses, and other subjects emerge in linear (usually a single line does the entire job), yet characteristic and smile-inducing images.

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