Pablo Picasso was born on October 25, 1881, in Malaga, Spain. He is the son of José Ruiz Blasco who was an art professor, and Maria Picasso y Lopez. His talent manifested itself very early, he already painted at the age of 10, and at the age of 15 he was admitted to the School of Fine Arts of Barcelona.

In 1901, after winning prizes for various works (Science et Charité, 1897, Les douanes de l’Aragon, 1898), Picasso set up a studio in Montmartre. Before that time, he always signed his paintings using both his mother’s (Picasso) and father’s (Ruiz) names, but then he decided to change, and from 1901 onwards he only used his mother’s (Picasso) name to sign his works. For the time being, Picasso is a master of traditional art forms, employing the neo-impressionist ideas of the school of Degas, Vuillard, and Toulouse-Lautrec. He produces illustrations for various books on emerging artistic movements such as Dadaism and Surrealism.

Picasso’s blue period from 1901-1904. This was a period of mourning for Picasso, with the death of his friend, Carlos Casamegas, who committed suicide after losing the love of his lover. During this period, Picasso used the blue color, in different shades, uniformly throughout his paintings, hence the name of the period. His paintings express sadness, anguish, nostalgia and human misery, and have subjects such as blind people, alcoholics, prostitutes, beggars, and miserable people. The period culminates with the painting Life Painted in 1903 and is followed by the beginning of the Rose Period.

With the Rose Period (1904-1906), Picasso returned to bright colors, and more joyful subjects: harlequins, clowns, jugglers, acrobats… The themes of his paintings are joy, love, life and existentialism. During this time, he meets Fernande Olivier who will be his companion for seven years. She will be his inspiration and model for many works in the years to come. Picasso during this period worked on lines and drawings rather than colors. He emphasizes the aesthetic effect of the form. Formal geometry gradually takes precedence over the natural form. Logic and proportions disappear. Cubism can be born.

Picasso began his graphic research in what was to become cubism with the Protocubism movement. Picasso destroys spatial depth, perspective, and begins to make paintings with solid, voluminous and simplified forms. (Portrait of Gertrude Stein, 1906 – Self-Portrait at the Palette, 1906).

Analytical Cubism begins in 1908, Picasso is inspired by the volume and treatment of form by Cézanne as well as by the primitive works he collects (in which the idea of the subject takes precedence over its physical reality). In the company of the French artist Georges Braque, Picasso painted in a style described by the critic Louis Vauxcelles as consisting of “small cubes”. This is where the name comes from, cubism. In Analytical Cubism, Picasso and Braque work on the decomposition and analysis of forms. They mostly employed monochromatic arrangements in their representations of radically fragmented scenes, showing several sides of the image simultaneously. Picasso marked the change in the second phase of cubism, synthetic cubism, in 1912 with the creation of his first collage, Nature morte à la chaise canneée. This stage of cubism is characterized by a wider use of colors and decorations, although the shapes in the paintings remain flat and fragmented. Picasso also created several cubist sculptures, such as Tête de femme, 1909, as well as various constructions made of various materials.

During the First World War, Picasso travelled to Rome, where he met his future wife, Olga Kokhloven. In the early 1920s, Picasso created neoclassical paintings depicting heavy and unbalanced figures, works inspired by mythology (Three Women at the Fountain, 1921). In the early 1930s, he met Marie-Thérèse, who gave him a daughter, Maya, in 1935. Marie had an impact on some of Picasso’s paintings during this period, borrowing her generous curves while expressing an underlying eroticism. In 1935, Picasso produced a monumental work, La Minotauromachie, which mixes bullfighting and Minotaur, often cited as the most important engraving of the 20th century.

In 1937, Picasso was commissioned by the Spanish government to produce a work on the Spanish Civil War. Picasso decided to paint the bombing of the town of Guernica which took place on 26 April 1937. In this large canvas, he uses symbols and images to illustrate the horrors of war, the brutality, inhumanity, despair and anger he felt at the death of its many innocent victims. During the Second World War, Picasso’s works take on a darker tone, with death being the main subject many times. Picasso spent most of this time in Paris, and after the end of the war he joined the Communist Party.

In his honor, for his 90th birthday, many of Picasso’s works are exhibited at the Louvre Museum in Paris. It is the first time that the works of a living artist are hung in the famous museum. During his last years, he works with all kinds of media to produce art, he is particularly interested in welding and poetry. Continuing to work until the end, he produced more than 20,000 works during his lifetime, which include paintings, sculptures, collages, drawings, lithographs and etches.

Pablo Picasso died on April 8, 1973, at the age of 92, in his villa near Mougins in France. He is undoubtedly one of the most famous Spanish painters, the best known of the Cubist painters and one of the major artists of the 20th century. One of Picasso’s great talents was to detect very precisely the strengths and weaknesses of new currents, and to know how to take advantage of them in his work.