ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Understanding Picasso

Updated on February 9, 2017

Picasso, the first thought that comes to mind when hearing his name is greatness. Cubism, revolutionary art movements, collage, plastics, surrealism, words that are usually associated with him. No doubt he had such impact on art world with mass following of fans and critics. The great numbers of critics shows the complexity of his art works.

Most common remarks on his artworks are “some of his works are hard to interpret”. Now why is it so? Mainly the reason could be that with the maturing age and gaining experience, he developed great interest towards symbolism in his art works rather than realism up to such a point that in this age some of the ignorant might refer to his skills as amateur.

Was he really an amateur or are we simply naïve to understand his art works? Let’s take one of his artworks i.e. the weeping woman 1937 (sold for 2.5 million $)

To fully understand the meaning behind each and every detail, we might have to ask Picasso himself. But for the sake of understanding any art, I find these steps useful:

First Reaction:

Describe to yourself the object and the actions that you see in the artwork. In this case, it shows a portrait of a woman who is crying and holding a handkerchief to her face. (You don’t have to be an artist to get that.)


The actual content of what the artwork is. The painting obviously shows a woman crying. She might represent various situations but at that time Spanish civil war was going on. He had already painted “Guernica” to express the chaotic impact of war on men and women but in this piece of artwork he indirectly described the desolation that the war caused individually. It might also refer to the letter that his mother wrote to him from Barcelona saying that smoke from the burning city during the fighting made her eyes water.

Historical Context:

Usually the time period in which the artist creates his/her artworks affect the subjects they chose. This painting was painted in 1937, a crucial time for Spain. The Franco had bombed Guernica in Spain (his home country). The wide, shocked eyes in the portrait represents his own painful reaction to the news as well as the pain of every citizen who has lost something in war.

Personal Context:

Who could the people represent? In this art work the model was Dora Maar. A professional photographer who remained his mistress for almost a decade. During their relationship, he made a number of her portraits. In this painting, he made her from different angles all at the same time. He did not added the effect of depth but gave a linear representation. He had an acknowledgment of the suffering that a woman goes through in society. He once said:

“For me she's the weeping woman. For years I've painted her in tortured forms, not through sadism, and not with pleasure, either; just obeying a vision that forced itself on me. It was the deep reality, not the superficial one... Dora, for me, was always a weeping woman....And it's important, because women are suffering machines.”

Picasso changed the idea of relation of art from simply beautification to a medium of expression so powerful that it effect the basic core of being a human.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • sparkleyfinger profile image

      Lynsey Harte 

      22 months ago from Glasgow

      Interesting read. I always like to remind myself that most of the "great" artists- Matisse, Picasso, Van Gogh etc were very talented and could create realistic images if they wanted to. The fact that they chose to go against the grain, to differ from the norm and to challenge the idea of art is what really made them stand out from other artists of their time. So even if, by todays standards, a painting isn't deemed to be very good by the wider public,it is comforting to know that the artist paved the way for us to have a variety of pieces to look at, instead of the classical, typical, boring, portraits and landscapes of times gone by.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)