Pablo Picasso



October 25, 1881 - April 8, 1973

Birth Place:
Malaga, Spain


Chief Accomplishment:
A founder of modern art and a creator of Cubism

Other Notable Accomplishments:

Co-invented the collage and constructed sculpture, both of which involve combining pieces into a new work.

Had a "Blue Period" and a "Rose Period," in which he painted in tones to match his emotions: first, while depressed and then when beginning a romantic relationship. Painting in artificial hues that connected with the artist's feelings was a new idea.

Founded cubism, where a subject is decomposed into geometric shapes and rearranged. His study of African art helped influence Cubism.

Some of his most famous works include Guernica, a gigantic 25-foot surreal cubism painting portraying the horror of the bombing of the city Guernica during the Spanish Civil War, and Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, a cubism portrait of five nude women with African-mask-like faces.

Spoke out against war and violence, and sold his art to raise money for political groups that supported peace. It was dangerous to oppose Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, but Picasso said that Franco was "plunging Spain into an ocean of misery and death."


Art as Activism. Picasso was a pacifist and painted many anti-war works during a period when nationalism was important. He lived through several violent periods, including the Catalan Independence Movement in Spain, the Spanish Civil War, and World Wars I and II. Picasso sold prints of his art to raise money for peaceful organizations, and painted murals in the Temple of Peace in France.

Think Outside the Canvas. The new styles of art developed by Picasso helped move art beyond purely realist interpretations of subjects. He challenged centuries of artistic teachings which led to the endless creative styles we enjoy today.

Magic Versus Religion. While he still believed in some types of magic through art, Picasso was an atheist.

Interesting Facts:

As a child, Picasso was a brilliant student and painter. By age 15 he had painted a remarkably realistic scene of his family at church. He was frequently in trouble at school because he'd draw in class when he was bored, which was almost all the time.

After joining the French Communist Party at age 62, he was awarded the Stalin Peace Prize and Lenin Peace Prize. He opposed violent communist party activity as well as the United States' involvement in the Korean War.

Picasso's full name is "Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruíz y Picasso." He was baptized as a Catholic under this name, and chose his two favorites to use. Picasso was his mother's name.

When the Mona Lisa (by Leonardo da Vinci) was stolen in 1911, Picasso was arrested as a suspect. He was innocent and released. Picasso's paintings have been stolen more than any other artist and are still frequently stolen to this day.

Picasso was raised in Spain but lived in France for his adult life. During WWII, Nazis occupied Paris and forbade him from showing his work.