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Pablo Picasso Pablo Picasso the Inventor of Cubism


									          Pablo Picasso, the Inventor of Cubism
                                 By Colleen Messina

    It is ironic that someone born with an enormous name
ended up being known by just one word! This artist was
born with the name Pablo Nepomuceno Crispin
Crispiniano de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santisima
Trinidad Ruis Picasso. Whew! No wonder he later was
known simply as the brilliant Picasso.
    Picasso was born on October 25, 1881, in Malaga,
Spain. His father was a painter and also an art professor
at the School of Fine Arts and Crafts. Young Picasso
showed tremendous talent. Some even called him a child
prodigy. His father taught him in classical techniques. The boy eagerly made
sketches of casts of ancient sculptures and painted striking portraits of family
members. If Picasso had wanted to be a classical artist, he could have been a
great one. Curiously, he never completed his college education at the Academy
of the Arts, showing his independent spirit.
     Even though his father gave him his strong artistic background, Picasso's
mother also played a role in his future success. She had great faith in his ability
to rise to the top of whatever field he chose. Picasso said once, "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."
Perhaps humility was a lesson he missed!
   Picasso's style changed a lot over his life, and his most lasting contribution to
modern art was the development of a style called Cubism. Picasso had several
recognizable artistic periods. If you think of his life's work as an ice cream
sundae, his first classical period might be the foundation of the sundae, or the
vanilla ice cream; plain and simple.
    Picasso's next noticeable period might be when he added another flavor to
the sundae, like blueberry cheesecake ice cream! This was called his Blue
Period. What kind of feelings do you think of when you think of the color blue?
Some say that Picasso's painted mostly in blue because a good friend committed
suicide. The feeling in all of his work during this time was melancholic, and he
used other cool colors like shades of green. This period lasted from the end of
1901 until late 1904 as the artist traveled back and forth between Spain and
France. Beggars and outcasts were his favorite subjects.
    Fortunately, Picasso's outlook took a rosier turn, and he began painting with
pinks, reds, and beiges. You might say that he added strawberry syrup to his
sundae! If you think of the expression, "seeing the world through rose colored
glasses," it applies to Picasso's joyful new work. He placed circus performers,
especially happy clowns, in his paintings. This period of his artistic life is called
the Rose Period.
     After the Rose period, Picasso traveled more. He became fascinated by
artifacts from other cultures, like Africa. These travels, as well as inspiration from
artists like Cezanne, led to the development of Cubism. Cubism was
revolutionary in the world of art and would be the equivalent of adding nuts,
sprinkles, cherries, and chocolate syrup to your ice cream sundae! He began to
paint in this unusual style in late 1906.
    Cubism is one of the most important art movements in the twentieth century.
The artist takes his or her subject and visually breaks it up. Then, the object is
analyzed and recreated in an abstract form using geometric shapes such as
cylinders, spheres, and cones. It is not supposed to look real, and it doesn't!
    The three phases of Cubism were Facet Cubism, Analytic Cubism, and
Synthetic Cubism. Picasso's painting, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, which he
painted in 1907, is considered by many to be the first Cubist painting. This piece
is now in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Soon, many painters all over
the world took up this style because Picasso started a revolution where the
soldiers carried paintbrushes.
    A real revolution, the Spanish Civil War, also affected Picasso's homeland
and his art. In 1937, the government asked him to paint a mural for a world
exposition in Paris. Picasso, who was horrified by the war, painted Guernica.
Guernica was the name of a town that was bombed during the war, and the
painting is a tragic combination of distorted anatomical images. It is now in
Madrid's Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia.
     Picasso had as much change in his personal life as in his styles of art. The
short, muscular artist married twice and had four children. He supposedly also
had many mistresses. In spite of many upheavals in his affairs, he continued to
paint prolifically. The Guinness Book of World Records claims that Picasso
painted more than any other painter. He created about 13,500 paintings, 100,000
prints and engravings, and 34,000 book illustrations. Picasso once said, "Give
me a museum, and I'll fill it."
    Picasso's habits were a unique combination of order and chaos. He followed
a disciplined daily schedule in his artistic life. He rose at 10 or 11 in the morning,
then he would take care of business for several hours, have lunch, and then he
would go to his studio at about 3 or 4 in the afternoon. He would paint
uninterruptedly for up to 12 hours.
     In contrast to his orderly painting life, Picasso collected an incredible amount
of junk in his life! Odd collections of things ranging from pebbles to pieces of
glass, a hollow elephant's foot, and a bird cage cluttered his home in California.
He also had African drums, ancient newspapers, and broken pottery. He
compulsively collected these objects, and once he had tossed them somewhere,
he never moved them!
    In spite of this disorganization, Picasso became the most famous artist in the
world by the late 1930s. He also was perhaps the most highly-paid artist of all
time. After he became famous, he could simply put a few lines on a paper, add
his dramatic signature, and then sell it at a high price. He made more than a
million dollars a year. He was proud of his fortune and once said, "I am rich
enough to throw away a thousand dollars!" Picasso generously donated over 800
paintings to a museum in Spain.
     Pablo Picasso died in 1973 at the age of 91. His Cubism style profoundly
influenced the world of modern art. Looking at his work always provokes a
reaction of some kind! In spite of his unusually long name at birth, today there is
absolutely no doubt about the identity of Picasso.

          Pablo Picasso, the Inventor of Cubism
Assignment 1: Number your paper from 1 to 8. Write the correct answer for each
question by the corresponding number.
1. Where was Picasso born?                2. Who gave Picasso his first art
      The United States                      training?
      Spain                                    Another artist
      Italy                                    His mother
      Germany                                  His father
                                               His uncle
3. Which of the following might appear 4. Which person might be in one of his
   in one of Picasso's paintings from     paintings from the Rose Period?
   the Blue Period?                         A gardener
     A flower                               A nurse
     A sky                                  A chef
     An ocean                               A clown
     A beggar
5. Which of the following is an            6. What kinds of Cubism developed?
   important element in Cubism?               Check all that apply.
     Geometric shapes                          Analytic
     Proper perspective                        Synthetic
     Color                                     Realistic
     Realistic objects                         Facet
7. What was the name of Picasso's          8. Which word best describes how
   painting that portrayed the horrors        Picasso kept his personal belongs?
   of war?                                      He gave things away often.
     Guernica                                   He kept everything in a cluttered
     The Berlin Wall                          way.
     Rome                                       He constantly organized his
     Naples                                   things.
                                                He liked to categorize his
           Pablo Picasso, the Inventor of Cubism
Assignment 2: Short Essay: Respond to each prompt with a concise and well-written
short essay.

Short Essay 1: Do you think it is important for artists to try to use their art to make
political statements? Why, or why not?

Short Essay 2: Do you think Picasso would have become a great artist if his father had
not trained him in art at an early age? Why, or why not?

Short Essay 3: Admit it -- his work looks crazy. However, notice that today's TV
commercials often look like something out of this world. Weird faces and designs.
Choose a product -- anything from jeans to cars -- and describe how his work would be
used to sell that product.

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