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Introduction to Drawing

Jonathan Wilson


Pablo Picasso

There is no limit to what I could say about Picasso. His influence from who he

was, his paintings and sculptures changed the world in which he lived, as well as for

us today. He could paint whatever he wanted, and he did just that. He invented

Cubism, became world famous and had the largest following while alive than any

other artist at his time. He was an innovator, changing the way we look at art, and

showing to those at his time, and to us that art is an expression on the way you see

the world around you, and through it you can bring people into your world and

create a spark of creativity for all that see it.

In 1881 Pablo Picasso was born to Don Jose Ruiz y Blasco and Maria Picasso y

Lopez in Malaga, Spain. Just as his fathers name is longer, so was Picassos real

name. Interestingly enough, he chose to be called by his mothers last name which

is where we see Picasso. Imagine if he chose to just go by Ruiz, since Ruiz is a very

common Spanish name. Picasso started early in art, growing up loving to draw and

sketch. He was also in good hands having a father who was a painter himself, and

even an art professor. What he would teach Picasso was to copy works of art from

the greats before them, as well accurately drawing the human form using models as

well as plaster casts.

Introduction to Drawing

Jonathan Wilson


When Picasso was ten years old, his family moved bringing him to A Coruna

which was for Ruiz to teach at the School of Fine Arts. It was during this time when

his father felt that his son had already passed him in art ability, and Picasso was

only 13. His father had a great impact on his sons art and natural ability and had a

lot of respect for him.

Picasso had a 7 year old sister who unfortunately died in 1895 of diphtheria.

It was then that his father pushed to get him into the art school he was a professor

at. He took the advanced entrance exam and was admitted to the advanced class at

13 years old. He was able to copy works of art form the Greats with amazing

accuracy, and really kept with the classic style of the time. Later at 16 years old he

traveled to Spain for their art school in Madrid after being sent. Funny enough, he

didnt even like it there at the Royal Academy of San Fernando. He soon stopped

going shortly after arriving because he disliked the formal training.

The vast amount of work that Picasso produced thorough his life acts as a

comprehensive record of all his progress, style and development. He had several

times in his life that have distinct styles and themes which is really fascinating.

From childhood, being able to paint with stunning accuracy caused him to become

the professional by the standard of the times at 13 years old. It is even said that a

Portrait he painted of Aunt Pepa is one of the best Spanish portraits in history.
Introduction to Drawing

Jonathan Wilson


A close friend to Picasso named Max Jacob who was a poet, moved with him

to France. He taught him French and they lived together, experiencing many things

together. They even had to burn their own paintings to keep warm at night from the

cold sometimes.

The first period of Picassos life that was shown through his paintings is called

the Blue Period. This ranges from the years 1901-1904, and is a result of his friend

Carlos Casagemas committed suicide. It affected Picasso so deeply, that his

depressed gloomy side to him now showed through his paintings, and example as

The Old Guitarist in 1903, sticking explicitly to blue colors, hence the name, blue

period. It is amazing because you get a glimpse through Picassos eyes at that time

of his life, as if he physically saw the world as a dark and gloomy place to be. Its

also this period that possibly helped define blue with sadness.

He eventually got out of this gloomy state of mind, being a result of course of

falling in love. We now enter the Rose Period, where everything he painted in was a

happy cherry red, pink and orange hues. The girl he fell in love with was named

Fernande Oliver, and was featured in many of the paintings of this period. He met

two art collectors who were very fascinated by his work. Their names were Leo and

Gertrude, Americans, and he featured Gertrude in a painting from this period which

became one of the most recognized and famous paintings of his.

Introduction to Drawing

Jonathan Wilson


Another piece to Picasso that came later, about 1907-1909 was the influence

of African art. This is where his art starts to take a twist and in modern terms, he

went a bit Picasso. African sculptures were becoming a big influence in the

European art culture, and that fascinated Picasso. He started to blend that style into

his artwork, and it instantly showed and was completely different from anything

anyone had seen.

The new style goes from the years 1909-1919 called Cubism, which Picasso

invented. It was very against the art and the time, and the art that he had done his

whole life, more classic and lovely to the eye to look at. These were more, like the

picture of the prostitutes with disfigured faces called Le Demoiselles dAvignon in

1907, unpleasant and rough, jagged lines and sharp corners, unpleasing when you

first see it, but youll find yourself unable to look away. He took an absolute

abandonment from form, perspective and realism, to an abstract way of painting. It

was as if he was trying to take apart objects and rearrange the pieces of it to be

able to show you the full whole object at once, instead of just one side of the thing.

He described it himself as like a perfume, its all around you not just in front of you,

but to the side, behind and above, and you can smell it from any angle you are at,

thats what he was trying to achieve from his cubism paintings.

Introduction to Drawing

Jonathan Wilson


Picasso had a few lovers over the years, leaving some for others, and how he

felt about them was reflected in his art.

After this cubism era, he went to a more classicism, surrealism, and sculpting

around 1917. One of his most triumphant pieces was called Guernica, in 1937.

There was civil war as well as nazi germany at the time he painted this, and was

effected very deeply by these catastrophic events. He painted Guernica to show the

real up front face and despair of war. Women holding their dead child, faces going

up from their body as if it was their spirit leaving it, and you can almost hear the

shrill cry of the families wailing in mourning for those lost, as well as the crash and

boom of the bombs exploding and going off. Its a really intense and powerful piece.

It was as powerful as it was massive, 11 ft tall and 25.6 feet wide. It would then be

seen all over on anti-war posters in protests, even for years and years after.

Picasso died 91 years old in 1973. He was truly one of the most well-known

and successful artist in history. Throughout his life he created 13,5000 paintings,

100,000 prints and engravings, and 34,000 illustrations. How I feel about his as an

artist is just truly inspired. To know how many works of art he produced throughout

his life is just incredible to me. I cant imagine creating that many works of art, its

hard enough for me to complete one drawing. I am inspired by him by wanting to

find my own style and break away from just realism, as he did. Art is about
Introduction to Drawing

Jonathan Wilson


expression which he taught us all, and I want to be able to express more in my

artwork. There is so much a person can learn and take away from Picasso if you

study art and want to become great, because he truly demonstrated that to be good

at what you do, you need to work for it. Because he sure did put in the work. He

truly loved creating art, and it was so natural and instructive for him. I feel like I

found my talent for art early too and now I need to follow him and just stick to it.

The cubism era of his life was probably the most impactful to me because of the

way that he was able to pain, in such a realistic way. I wondered how he would

totally abandon that and go towards something more edgy but it was his true style.

It was the real him being expressed in those paintings and thats why they are my

favorite and really stand out as his. I am glad I chose to research Pablo Picasso and

for everything Ive learned from doing so.