Born in 1881, Picasso began his lifelong and illustrious art career at the age of 10. His brilliance was manifested through paintings done by the teachings of his father which were largely influenced by Spanish art. However, this style was far too traditional and conventional for Picasso. Instead of being limited by this form of representation he wanted to find new means of expression.
By his early 20’s Picasso changed his earth-toned colors to a palate which conveyed his inner emotions. Picasso’s blue period was a depressing phase of his life triggered by the suicide of his close friend, Casagemas. “The Old Guitarist”, “The Tragedy” and “La Vie” were a few of these poetic images which were created, predominately with shades of blue. Most of the people featured in this short lived chapter were sickly and emaciated, appearing to feel the same discouraging emotions which Picasso was at the time.
The rose period, falling into sequence around 1905, showed the lightening of Picasso’s outlook on life through his beige and rose colored tones. The “Family of Saltimbanque” and “Acrobat and Young Harlequin” are two pieces in the rose period in which Picasso features clowns and circus performers for the first time. Picasso’s financial improvements and successful loving relationship played a large part in the pink and attractive skin tones on the people featured in his work.
By 1907, Pablo Picasso and his friend Georges Braque collaborated to begin the era which we know as cubism. Once again, Picasso wanted a new form of expression and created a radically inventive form of art using bright colors, hard edged forms, and flattened spaces displayed in geometric terms. Picasso’s “Self Portrait” is an example of an artwork done in the beginning of cubism and is a good representation of what other pieces were like during that period.
Cubism then progressed into “Analytical Cubism” and then “Synthetic Cubism.” Analytical cubism involved removing bright colors from Picasso and Braque’s paintings so the primary focus is on the structure, opposed to the distracting paint shades. The idea of not being limited by viewpoints was applied to this period. Therefore Picasso and Braque began developing pictures which incorporated an object being viewed from several different viewpoints or angles. Synthetic cubism consisted of larger and more representational forms along with flat and bright patterns. Throughout the synthetic period Picasso and Braque would experiment sporadically by incorporating real inanimate objects, such as actual pieces of oilcloths, newspaper print, or postage stamps onto the canvas.
During the 1930s Picasso was admired as a distinguished artist and was lucky enough to achieve success during his lifetime. His paintings were now militant and political, especially due to the fact of World War I and the Spanish civil war. He also became connected to the Surrealist movement, but refused to study this type of art in any formal institutions.
Following World War II, Picasso’s paintings made a switch from political to gentle. Picasso spent the last years of his life concentrating on drawing, and ended up finishing 347 sketches. In spite of health complications Picasso created a number of paintings in his final years. He died on April 8, 1973, at the age of 91.