Pablo Picasso

Spanish-ArtThe province and town of Malaga, located deep in the heart of Southern Spain, has been home to many legendary historical figures. One such legend is Pablo Picasso, born in Malaga in 1881. World famous artist, Pablo Picasso contributed more than one can say to the history and development of the groundbreaking concept of modern art. He died in 1973 at the ripe old age of 91 years in Mougins, France.

Best known as one of the founders of Cubism which broke all boundaries of traditional art, Picasso is one of the most recognized figures in 20th century art. It has been estimated that Picasso produced about 200,000 works of art in his lifetime, making Picasso one of the most prolific artists to date.

A man once criticized Picasso for creating unrealistic art. Picasso asked him: “Can you show me some realistic art?” The man showed him a photograph of his wife. Picasso observed: “So your wife is two inches tall, two-dimensional, with no arms and no legs, and no colour but only shades of gray?”

Picasso’s training began under his father who was also an artist before 1890 and continued in Madrid at the Academia de San Fernando (Academy of Arts), however he did not complete his formal studies. From Madrid, he began to divide his time between Barcelona and Paris, painting, socializing, and discussing art with likeminded artists, dancers, poets, intellects and actors who also pushed and pulled the limits and came up with what we call the “Avant Garde”.

Picasso created his own road through his art….. there was no stopping him. Using materials, perspectives and energy that had not previously been seen in fine art, he continued to produce ground breaking (and also extremely controversial) art. His journey took him through many styles or “periods”; the Blue Period (1901–1904), the Rose Period (1905–1907), the African-influenced Period (1908–1909), Analytic Cubism (1909–1912), and Synthetic Cubism (1912–1919). In the period following World War I Picasso produced work that expressed a “return to order”. In the 1950s Picasso’s style changed once again, and in the end his final works were a mixture of styles, his means of expression in constant flux until the end of his life.

In 1973 Picasso passed away having lived his life to the fullest in art and love. Pablo Picasso was more than an artist; he was a celebrity, one who lived his life without boundaries of country, of artistic movements or love. Picasso definitely had bohemian tendencies; he maintained a number of mistresses in addition to his wife or primary partner. Picasso was married twice and had four children by three women. There was often as much interest in his personal life as his art. He kept company with the most noted creative minds of the time, a distinguished group of friends including André Breton, Guillaume Apollinaire, and writer Gertrude Stein.

At the time of his death many of his paintings were in his possession, as he had kept off the art market what he didn’t need to sell. In addition, Picasso had a considerable collection of the work of other famous artists, some his contemporaries, with whom he had exchanged works. Since Picasso left no will, his death duties (estate tax) to the French state were paid in the form of artwork. These works form the core of the immense collection of Picasso’s work at the Musée Picasso in Paris.

Picasso’s early development and progress can be traced in the collection of early works which were created in Spain under the tutelage of his father which are now held by the Museu Picasso in Barcelona. It provides one of the most comprehensive representations of any major artist’s beginnings which include many rarely seen works which reveal Picasso’s firm grounding in classical techniques.

In1992, the King Juan Carlos of Spain and Queen Sofía inaugurated the Reina Sofía National Museum Art Centre with a permanent collection which came to substitute the Spanish Museum of Contemporary Art. It is here that now permanently lives the famed mural by Picasso, “Guernica (1937)”, standing at 11.5 feet tall and almost 26 feet wide.

Picasso remained neutral during the Spanish Civil War, World War I and World War II, refusing to fight for any side or country because he was a pacifist. While Picasso expressed anger and condemnation of Franco and the Fascists through his art he did not take up arms against them. For this reason, many consider this expressive and gut-wrenching depiction of the German bombing of Gernika, Spain during the Spanish Civil War which killed as many as 1,600 Spaniards to be his most famous work. This massive painting embodies for many the inhumanity, brutality and hopelessness of war.

The people of Malaga are proud of the fact that Picasso was born here and it was a big day when the King and Queen of Spain inaugurated the long awaited Museo Picasso Malaga in 2003 which houses an impressive and extensive collection of his work. The new museum is just a few minutes away from the Casa Natal (Birthplace of Picasso), in the Plaza de la Merced, which has been open to the public since 1988 where there are also exhibitions of his work as well as photos of how life was for the artist in his early years in Malaga.

Picasso stands alone as a pioneer in terms of Spanish modern artists. Spain has many significant works by Picasso that should not be missed. His daring, colorful paintings, his whimsical sculptures and impressive prints (and more) are all presented here in Spain. Take the time to see for yourself the artwork of a person who almost single-handedly changed the “idea” of art itself.

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