Drawing Blog Assignment – Pablo Picasso – by Sujata Mahtaney
Pablo Picasso, a Spanish artist and co-founder of the cubist movement, is a name that never goes unheard when discussing art, or the history of Spain. He was born on the 25th of October 1881, and died on the 8th of April 1973. He lived through the Spanish Civil War and Francisco Franco regime. Picasso worked in various different mediums of art, including painting, ceramics, sculpture, and also writing. As a co-founder of the avant-garde cubism movement, Picasso created an entirely new style that ended up becoming an extremely influential style of art in the 20th century. Cubism is a style that involved representing three-dimensional forms in a more abstract manner. It is often seen as the first defined abstract style of art. It is also defined by the geometric forms used to create these abstract paintings. Picasso’s cubism in his work is seen to have been influenced by primitive African art. By challenging the conventions of perspective, Picasso created history. Below is an image of Picasso’s Les Demoiselles, which was painted in 1907 and influenced by African art. The style of cubism is distinctly visible in this image.
Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907)
I was first interested in Picasso’s work at the age of eleven, when my brother named my dog after Pablo Picasso. I began to research this famous Spanish artist, and was fascinated most by his use of color. Even today, when studying Picasso’s work, I think his use of color is extremely interesting, and something that is not analyzed in detail when often studying Picasso. Although his different styles of painting and sculpture are significant, his use of color adds significant character to his work. There are many paintings where he uses very little color, or dark colors, and many where he uses multiple bright colors. Below is an image of Picasso’s painting from 1932, Girl gone before a mirror. Along with the cubism style, his use of multiple colors makes the painting extremely appealing to a viewer. The use of the same pattern, but with different colors adds an interesting dimension to the two-dimensional piece. The drawing style of the figures is unique, and the color helps enhance this drawing style.
Girl before A mirror (1932)
I spent last summer in Madrid, Spain, and was fortunate to see Picasso’s Guernica (1937) live. The size of this painting in the Museum is huge, and the experience of actually seeing it in that scale is unreal. The painting depicts the harsh reality of war, which was a significant theme in some of Picasso’s work, and in his life, having lived through the Spanish civil war, and the cruel dictatorship of Francisco Franco. This piece, unlike many of Picasso’s works, has no color, and the use of black, white, and various shades of grey help convey the dark reality of war. This painting is also done with his cubism style, and it is an extremely interesting way of conveying the message, where the characters look cartoon like, but in contrast, he is depicting an extremely serious message.
Ultimately, when looking at Picasso’s work, it is evident that his work transformed over time, and he developed unique styles that transformed the art world. It is also clear that a lot of his subject matter was influenced by the time period in which he lived, adding a different dimension to his work.
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