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  • Picasso, protagonist of 2023 for the 50th anniversary of his death

    Why does everyone know the name Pablo Picasso?

    Foto de Picasso

The year 2023 will mark the 50th anniversary of Pablo Picasso’s death.

Many of the great Spanish museums in cities such as Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga, A Coruña, Bilbao will host exhibitions of great artistic relevance. The governments of Spain and France will also coordinate to offer joint actions. So everything indicates that #PicassoYear #AñoPicasso will be a spectacular cultural event.

The anniversary also coincides with the 20th anniversary of the creation of the Picasso Museum in Malaga and the 60th anniversary of the Picasso Museum in Barcelona.

Throughout this year, we will be offering different articles on our blog to delve into the life and work of the great painter from Malaga.

Why does everyone know the name, Pablo Picasso?

It doesn’t matter if you’re a long-time art lover or if you’ve never stepped inside of a museum. So when people around the world hear the word “artist,” one of the first names that come to mind is “Picasso.”

Why is that? How did one Spanish artist become such a timeless phenomenon? Why Is Pablo Picasso Art So Special?

Pablo Picasso is unquestionably the most famous artist of the 20th century. No artist has had a more significant influence on modern art and has changed art more profoundly than Picasso. Picasso transformed the art world by co-founding the Cubist movement and developing various styles and techniques that provoked viewers, scholars, and artists alike.

By the time he died at age 91, Picasso had created thousands of works of art. There are currently more than 29,000 cataloged Picasso artworks, and some estimate that there could be tens of thousands more uncatalogued.

How Pablo Picasso Transformed 20th-Century Art

It’s hard to imagine a visual record of the 20th century without Pablo Ruiz Picasso. With his bold shapes and characteristic angles, the Spanish artist captured everything from the horrors of war to the boundless possibilities of the human form.
Even those unfamiliar with the intricacies of modern art history can likely identify a few of his best-known paintings — particularly those in his signature cubist style.

In the words of Park West Gallery Director Morris Shapiro, “I think it’s fair to say there’s Art before Picasso, there is Art after Picasso—and it’s not the same. It’s completely transformed.”

But how did that transformation happen? In the video below, you can watch how profoundly prolific Picasso was during his career.

Pablo Picasso’s Most Famous Paintings

Guernica . 1937. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia. Madrid.

Picasso was deeply affected by the horrors of the Spanish Civil War, which had begun on 17 July 1936 when General Francisco Franco led a military coup against the Spanish Republic.

The painting was created in response to the bombing of Guernica, a Basque Country town in northern Spain, by German planes commanded by General Franco during the Spanish Civil War. It depicts the tragedy and suffering of war with incredible power. It has been considered one of his most famous works and depicts the horrors of war, including violence and death.

The painting does not depict any specific battle or event but rather all of the events during the war.

las señorita de avignon

Les Demoiselles d’Avignon . 1907. MoMA. New York.

Les Demoiselles d’Avignon marks a radical break from traditional composition and perspective in painting.

It depicts five naked women composed of flat, splintered planes whose faces were inspired by Iberian sculpture and African masks. The compressed space they inhabit appears to project forward in jagged shards, while a slice of melon in the still life at the bottom of the composition teeters on an upturned tabletop.

Picasso unveiled the monumental painting in his Paris studio after months of revision. The Avignon of the work’s title is a reference to a street in Barcelona famed for its brothels.

the old guitarist

The Old Guitarist. 1903. Art Institute of Chicago.

Picasso spent most of his life in extreme poverty, and it is claimed that during this period, he developed a strong sympathy with the world’s impoverished and oppressed. The Old Guitarist was created when Picasso was believed to be almost bankrupt while living in Barcelona.

This time has been dubbed his ‘Blue’ phase when he painted nearly every canvas in a drab, monochromatic palette of blue, a hue that matched the kind of subject matter that he would address.

Picasso created this piece soon after his close friend Casagemas committed suicide due to a lengthy battle with mental illness and despair.

The man in the picture is holding a guitar and seems to be playing a sorrowful song, his face set with agony and despair.

Subsequent X-rays of the artwork showed the presence of a ghostly figure (a lady) that Picasso had begun to paint but then changed his mind and chose to paint over her.

girl before mirror

Girl Before a Mirror. 1932. MoMA. New York.

Girl Before a Mirror delves into the romantic side of Picasso, as the painting features a subject he was most passionate about his wife Marie-Therese Walter. It’s one of his truest examples of cubism, as the oil on canvas painting beautifully emphasizes Picasso’s unique ability to portray this specific style in such a gorgeous piece.

The painting has been interpreted in a variety of ways, but the gist of it is that the way Picasso saw his woman and the way she saw herself were not the same.

La Vida

La Vie. 1903. Cleveland Museum of Art. Cleveland.

La Vie is one of the most significant paintings of Picasso’s career during his blue period, which existed from 1901 to 1904. During this short but incredible time, Picasso produced some of his best works, including La Vie, which was done in Barcelona. La Vie is a tall painting that depicts a nude man and woman embracing, across from a woman holding a baby in her arms. In the background are two other paintings featured in the setting. The blue colors give the painting a depressing kind of feel, which is a fairly accurate representation of Picasso’s mood at the time.

Gertude Stein

Portrait of Gertrude Stein. 1905-1906. Metropolitan Museum of New York.

The early 20th century was a popular time for writers and artists to move to Paris, where they could be surrounded by like-minded people in a place which quickly inspired creativity. When Picasso moved there after his blue period in 1904, he became friendly with many ex-pats, one being Gertrude Stein. If you don’t know about Gertrude Stein, she was a famous American writer who collected art, many pieces of which were Picasso’s.

In 1905, he created this unique portrait of her, which undoubtedly resembled their close relationship and the meaningful times they had spent together during those years.

Las Meninas

Las Meninas. Serie. 1957. Picasso Museum. Barcelona

Chronologically, this work is the first in the series where Picasso produced a personal interpretation of the whole of Velázquez’s work.
The same characters as in Velázquez’s work appear here, although, with an aesthetically different form, with variations in certain elements of the composition.

In just five months of intense work, between 17th August and 30th December 1957, Picasso carried out an exhaustive analysis, reinterpretation, and recreation of Las Meninas by Velázquez. The Suite of 58 works Picasso donated to the Museu Picasso in 1968 comprises
– 44 interpretations inspired on Velázquez’s painting – studies of heads, detached figures, groups of characters, and different interpretations of the ensemble
– 9 interpretations of Pigeons, centering on the representations of the view of doves of all types and colors he could see from his studio at La Californie Villa in Cannes where he painted the entire series
– 3 landscapes
– 2 free interpretations, The Piano and Portrait of Jacqueline.

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