Spanish Art

Cubism: Pablo Picasso

Picasso is one of the world's most famous artists of the 20th century. Born in Málaga, in the south of Spain, Pablo Picasso was a Spanish painter and sculptor. He is particularly well known as the father of the Cubism movement and a significant influence in Surrealism among other artistic movements. Some of Pablo Picasso's most famous works include 'Guernica', 'Les Demoiselles d'Avignon' and 'The Weeping Woman'.

Pablo Ruiz Picasso (1881-1973)

Spanish Art - Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso studied art with his father, Ruiz Picasso, who was an art professor. As a child, Picasso displayed great talent as an artist, painting in an extremely realistic style. Picasso spent so much of his time practising art at home that he often forgot to study in school in Málaga.

In 1895, Pablo's sister tragically died from diphtheria. After this tragedy, the family moved to Barcelona. In this city, Picasso's father began working as a professor at the School of Fine Arts. Here, he convinced the other professors to allow his son to sit the entrance exam. This was normally a lengthy process, but Pablo Picasso completed it all in one week, sufficiently impressing the professors. Pablo Picasso was then admitted to the school at the age of thirteen. Later in life, he also studied in Madrid at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando (The Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando).

Pablo Picasso was extremely experimental, trying out his skills in various distinctive artistic styles. His work can therefore be classified into many different sections which include the Blue Period, the Rose Period, the African-influenced period, the Cubism period, and the Classicalism and Surrealism period.

Not only did he vary a lot in his styles of painting, but Pablo Picasso also varied in the type of visual art he created. Picasso also created several sculptures, of which his most famous is the untitled metal sculpture that Picasso donated to the city of Chicago, USA.

Spanish Art - Guernica

However, Pablo Picasso is most famous for his paintings. Picasso's most critically acclaimed painting, 'Guernica', played a very important part in the history of Spain in the 20th century. Picasso painted 'Guernica' in 1937 as a representation of the bombing of the Spanish town of Guernica, near Bilbao in the north of Spain, during the Spanish Civil War. Pablo Picasso specified that the painting was not to return to Spain until a time when General Francisco Franco was no longer in power. Unfortunately, Picasso did not live to see that day, as he died in 1973, two years before the death of Franco and the time when Spain began to move towards democracy. 'Guernica' finally returned to Spain in 1981, and can now be seen in El Museo de Reina Sofia, in the centre of Madrid. A must-see for when you are visiting Spain!

'Guernica' depicts the tragedies and horrors of war and has come to be used as anti-war symbol. The canvas is extremely large, measuring 7.8 metres in width and 3.5 metres in height. It is full of images of buildings, animals and people who are all suffering from the violence and chaos of war.

Pablo Picasso produced nearly 50,000 pieces of artworks during his lifetime in various types of media. It is no wonder that he is one of the most famous Spanish artists in the world. Yet it also means that there are many places to see Pablo Picasso's art work. The Museo Picasso in Málaga and the Musée de Picasso in Paris are great places to start. Picasso has been so successful that he has become the number one artist according to the sales of his paintings at auctions. Pablo Picasso is also the artist who has had the most paintings lost or stolen - a total of 550 at the last count were registered missing.

© Spanish Arts 2011