Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios, Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz, y Picasso, Oof, that was some name, wasn’t it?
Besides the name, the famous painter left behind a huge legacy as well.
Preceding the legacy, however, Pablo had to overcome a lot of hardships, economic struggles, and his own stint in depression.
In the later stages of his career, he became one of the most decorated Spanish artists of all time, even helping to develop a whole artistic movement, Cubism.
Many of Picasso’s most famous paintings are housed in world-renowned museums and displayed in some of the most prestigious private collections.
I’m sure you’re as eager as I am to see them and learn all about the fascinating stories behind some of the most famous paintings of Picasso.
Paintings from the Blue Period
The “blue period” is a term used to describe the paintings of Picasso from the years 1901 to 1904.
The Blue Period was when Pablo Picasso produced tons of monochromatic paintings, highlighting the different shades of blue and green.
The pioneer art of this period was “The Old Guitarist,” by Picasso which made the viewer question about why it’s all blue.
There was a distinct absence of warmer tones of color in his paintings. The reason was Picasso’s depression and misery, which are evidently reflected in this work.
He achieved this by setting the mood of his paintings in depressive tones and emphasizing the sadness in the world.
This pushed critics and viewers away from his paintings, as no one wanted to display the sadness of the people in their homes.
He was further pushed into depression. As a result, he contemplated abandoning art altogether.
Despite being an outgoing socializer, he started withdrawing from his friends.
Additionally, he had problems selling his paintings, which added to his depression.
One of Picasso’s rare expressionist paintings, this painting has gained international recognition for its meaning.
The main message that the artist wanted to convey through this painting was the importance of charity.
It depicts a woman who is physically weighed down by her destitution, who is standing in front of a child.
It is unclear whether the woman is receiving the bowl of soup or giving it to her, making the painting greatly ambiguous.
In spite of this, Picasso is keeping his focus on the act of charity rather than the basic needs of nourishment and destitution.
Today, the painting resides at the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Regarded as the best of Picasso’s blue period paintings, La Vie is credited to Pablo Picasso’s late friend Cagemas.
It is thought that his death triggered Picasso’s “blue era,” and thus the dismal tones of all his paintings.
In “La Vie,” a scene from a brothel is depicted with Casagemas and his girlfriend standing in a nude scene in front of a woman holding a baby.
It is said that, due to Casagemas’s impotence, he was unable to have kids, and that is the reason he is shown pointing toward the child.
In the center are two paintings stacked on top of each other; one is a nude painting of two girls holding each other, and the other depicts a single nude and a sorrowful woman.
Nowadays, it hangs at the Cleveland Museum of Art in the USA.
The word “Le Gourmet” directly translates in English to “lover of food.”
Picasso famously painted a young child scraping the bottom of a bowl to get the last of her food.
In addition to this bowl, there is a scrap of bread lying on the table, and it seems that the child has nothing to eat.
This served as a metaphor for the widespread poverty of the era, as well as Picasso’s own extreme financial hardship.
But what is hidden from the viewer is that beneath the blue colors is a portrait of a woman looking into the distance.
This portrait was created by Picasso before his “blue period” and is characterized by splashes of blue, white, and some unknown pigments.
If you wanted to view it today, it is present at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.
These were some of the most depressing paintings that Pablo Picasso ever gave life to, as well as proof of the severe depression that he faced.
But from this point on, we switch from his “blue period” to his “rose period” in life.
Paintings from the Rose Period
This period in the life of Pablo Picasso began in the year 1904 when he moved to Paris from Barcelona.
Distinctively different from his blue period; his paintings of the rose period held cheerful themes of clowns, harlequins, and other carnival performers.
During this period, Picasso was also happily in a relationship with Fernande Oliver, who helped him overcome depression and sadness.
The term “rose” was used to refer to this time period because the artist began using pink tones after he emerged from his depression.
He also went away from depicting the sadness of people and instead started to portray the happy and positive side of his world.
This was also a time when the paintings of Picasso started to gain popularity.
Family of Saltimbanques
When Picasso painted this famous painting, he was exploring the Saltimbanques themes and was fascinated by their culture.
He frequently went to the Cirque Médrano in Montmartre, where he was moved to create this painting by some of the performers.
In the painting, we can see a group of Saltimbanques standing together, but they appear disconnected as none of them is looking at each other.
All the subjects appear to be looking at the woman sitting in solitude, while the harlequin in the diamond-patterned outfit, reaches out for the child standing behind him.
According to the critics, the painting features his social circle, which appears to be poor, independent, and isolated.
Today, the painting can be seen at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.
Le Acteur was one of the most famous paintings of all time, as it was created at a transitional time in the artist’s life.
During this period, he was severely influenced by Saltimbanques, and Le Acteur was the last painting that resembled their lives.
However, in 2010, a woman attending an adult education class at the MET, where it was displayed, took a tumble and produced a six-inch tear in the lower corner of the painting.
The MET was however efficient in their repair processes and restored the painting to its former glory.
Today, it can be seen hanging from the walls of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Garcon A La Pipe
Garcon A la Pipe is a famous oil on canvas painting of Picasso created when he was just 24 years old.
In this painting, a young boy is shown holding a pipe and is surrounded by two bouquets of flowers. He is also seen wearing blue overalls and has a rose garland on his head.
When asked about the painting, Picasso said that the boy is “Petit Louis,” who was a performer and frequented visits to the studio as a model.
The position of the pipe has been the subject of a lot of speculation, as the pipe was seen as a symbol of intellectual reflection.
Additionally, the way he holds it gives the impression that it is being held from the outside rather than the inside of the painting.
Speculating whether the painting is a self-reflection of Picasso himself.
Today, it shines in the collections of a private collector.
After gaining a lot of fame in his “Rose Period,” Pablo Picasso started to take center stage in pioneering the abstract art movement and even founding his own movement and art style called Cubism.
Paintings of Cubism
In the year 1909, Picasso became great friends with fellow famous painter Georges Braque, and together they started a movement, Cubism, that moved away from displaying reality in paintings.
Instead, it used geometric alignments to display the natural aspects of the subject in the painting.
Both Braque and Picasso started to create paintings and artworks that were aimed towards the principles of abstraction, leaving only signs of reality to create tension between the reality outside the painting and the complicated visual language.
This gave birth to Cubism and influenced many famous abstract artists to make their own mark on the canvas.
Les Demoiselles d’Avignon
Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, directly translated to “young ladies of Avignon,” is a famous painting by Picasso that depicts a scene from a brothel in Paris.
Upon its release, this famous painting of Picasso received a lot of criticism from fellow painters like Henri Matisse as well as some other well-known critics.
It got to a point where the artist was about to burn the painting, but was stopped by his friends.
Much later, it was recognized for the brilliant strokes and the expressive faces of the women portrayed by Picasso.
After gaining a lot of approval from the community, it has now become the most famous painting by Picasso, hanging in the Museum of Modern Art, in New York.
Guernica was one of the famous Cubist paintings that depicted the scene of the bombing in the city during the Spanish Civil War.
It was commissioned by the Spanish Government to create a large mural painting to put on display at the Spanish World’s Fair in 1937.
It shows the suffering and despair experienced by the citizens of the city, because of the war and violence caused by the Nazis.
The most prominent subjects visible in the paintings are the minotaur, a screaming woman, a dead baby, and a disemboweled soldier.
After its display at the fair, the painting went on a tour, being displayed at various famous galleries, and all its proceeds went towards Spanish war relief.
At present, it is on display at the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid, Spain.
Paintings like Guernica are a necessary piece of art. Military paintings reflect the actual situation in a very evocative way.
Check Out Our Military Paintings!
The Weeping Woman
Unlike the previous painting, Picasso used a single subject to demonstrate pain and suffering.
The subject of the painting was his partner at the time, Dora Maar.
The reason for this deeply sad painting is because of the constant news of the Luftwaffe conducting constant air raids over the allied nations. It was his final painting that protested the war.
The woman in the painting is reportedly shown to be in tears because he received a letter from his mother in Barcelona, and the smoke from the burning city caused her eyes to water.
The painting is now part of the Tate Modern collection in London.
Following his period of creating cubic paintings, Picasso transitioned once more into a surrealist phase, returning to traditional norms and portraying reality in his paintings.
Paintings from the Surrealism period
At the beginning of the year 1917, Picasso visited Italy for the first time.
Upon visiting Italy, his work saw the entry of elements of neoclassical themes all across his paintings.
He wanted to follow other artists who had returned to the classical style of painting in order to bring art back to its original peace.
However, Picasso never fully adopted the principles of surrealism.
But essentially, surrealism brought Picasso back to primitivism, eroticism, and violence. It made the artist express his ideas about various elements of society on a canvas.
Nude Standing By the Sea
One of the most famous paintings of Picasso, Nude Standing By the Sea, stands distinctively apart from all of the famous artist’s surrealist works.
The main reason for this is the two-toned color palette used by Picasso. He only used shades of blue and white throughout the entire painting.
It almost emerges as a minimalistic painting, which is not evident in any of the artist’s previous artworks.
The second reason is that the painting has no background or foreground; it just stands as it is, which was very rare for the artist.
Today, it hangs at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, USA.
Corrida: la mort du torero (Bullfight: Death of the Bullfighter)
One of the most famous paintings by Picasso, Corrida or Bullfight, is mostly known for portraying the passion of the artist.
Ever Since Pablo visited Spain, he would indulge his weekends in trying to attend Bullfights.
However, he was unable to attend them because of his duties, so he tried to portray them in his artwork and show his own idea of the sport.
In the painting, the artist has used heavy brush strokes to depict a panicked horse, in contrast to the left side of the painting, which is filled with color and vibrance.
The red cape in the painting is used to depict a pool of blood or gore, which is missing where the death of a bullfighter is portrayed.
Involving heavy use of colors, critics found the painting to be crackling and filled with energy, which will “rile up the viewer.”
If you wanted to view it today, you would have to visit the Musee National Picasso.
Woman With Green Hat
Dora Maar was a surrealist photographer who inspired Picasso to paint this famous painting.
The artist was finding it difficult to concentrate on his work because he had recently divorced his wife, Olga, and his mistress, Marie-Theresa, had recently given birth to a daughter.
To distract himself, Picasso would spend a lot of time with Dora, who served as his model and mistress throughout World War II.
There is a sense of sadness and impending breakdown in this painting. This served as a metaphor for the issues the couple was dealing with as a result of their tumultuous relationship.
However, this painting is said to be an exception because the woman’s pink skin tone harkens back to the artist’s “rose period,” and her facial expressions reveal the artist’s interest in western art culture.
This famous painting by Picasso became part of the Phillips collection in 2014.
As Picasso approached the end of his painting career, he had already painted around 13,500 paintings.
His painting technique varied considerably across all of these pieces and was heavily influenced by numerous artists.
As he aged, his style of painting became even bolder than before, becoming more expressive and gaining in popularity.
Everyone wanted a painting of Picasso to be hung on the walls of their houses. creating a sudden demand for the paintings.
Not only was he one the greatest abstract painters, but also one of the most prolific Cubist painters.
Slowly, Picasso became one of the most decorated and iconic cubist artists in the history of art.
Won’t you think that one of his artworks would add that extra jazz to the decor of your house?
As obviously you can’t have one of his originals, so why not get a Pablo Picasso reproduction painting handmade for you by one of our professional artists?
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