“When I was a child, my mother said to me,‘If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general. If you become a monk, you’ll end up as the pope.’ Instead I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.”
This quote by the master himself is a very distinguishing one. Pablo Picasso became one of the most influential artists of all times. What is his secret? How did he manage to keep pace with the perpetually changing world of modern art throughout the course of his 70-year-long career? We will try to seek for the answers in this article.
First of all, let’s take figure out what is the core of his art style. It would be more appropriate to say, the core of his many art styles. Not a lot of people know, that Picasso is actually a great master of traditional art. He expressed his talent for drawing at a very young age, and with the creative environment such as his father being a drawing teacher and a decorator, he embraced it since the beginning. Picasso turned out to be highly skilled artist by the age of 12-13 years. Take a look at these works, completed in his early teenage years.
He was fascinated with the works of Spanish Old Masters Velázquez, Ribera, and El Greco. They made a great impact on Picasso’s artistic style and coloring techniques.
But as he said: "The world today doesn’t make sense, so why should I paint pictures that do?” Though he could paint like a pro, he was always willing to come back to the “child’s drawings”, to the way children paint, with the pure notions and wild imagination.
At first, Picasso’s works started to transform after his trips to Paris and the voyage across Spain. Gloomy Blue Period depicted beggars, prostitutes and was affected by the suicide of Picasso’s friend, Carlos Casagemas.
Rose Period followed the Blue one and was marked with more optimistic moods and warmer colors. Women had been a great influence in Picasso’s life, and in this particular case he met Fernande Olivier, French artist who became his muse.
During that period he got acquainted with Gertrude Stein, who turned to be an admirer, a friend and a collector of his works. He continued to explore Parisian art world, modernist’s tendencies to study tribal arts and culture, but the major break came in 1910.
Inspired by the African masks, Picasso completed famous Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. It had marked the ideas that would eventually lead to Cubism.
Together with the fellow painter, George Braque, Pablo Picasso had been working on the new art style, which studied the vision itself and its representation. It was not about the depth of the painting anymore, it was not about the depiction of the painter’s point of view. The objects were being deconstructed and presented in the variety of viewpoints to portray the subject in a wider context. Cubism became a huge evolutionary step for the art world, which basically ensured the birth of many other art forms and movements. It had changed the flat canvas into a three dimensional thing with a tremendous options to pick from. It was not about the perspective anymore.
Eventually, Cubism lead to the reinvention of a Collage. We have already talked about that; for the first time in history Picasso put the real-life materials into the paintings. During the course of his oeuvre, he would add sand into his works, or even work with a regular household paints.
And now it is a high time to reveal some of Picasso’s secrets of success. Throughout his lifetime, he watched closely what was going in in the world of art. Combining these observations with his skills and artistic manner, he also absorbed what was going on around him, in his personal life and in the world in general.
“Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.” he said. And this is one great piece of a diary with more than 50,000 works. Picasso did not restrain himself only to painting, drawing and collage. He worked with sculpture, ceramics, prints, tapestries, play-writing, poetry, stage design and many more. He took risks; occasionally, he was not understood at the time. But he tried himself in almost every possible art sphere. His soul was of a try artist, he loved and he hated. His bohemian lifestyle had also became a signature of his, it turned into a “typical” vision of an artist’s leisure.
Well, as for another part of Picasso’s secret – it is simply an amazing talent of his. Combined with an incredible productivity and demiurgic instincts, they had formed the Picasso we know now.