This Pablo Picasso biography will give you an idea of who Picasso was, both as an artist and as a person. Picasso lived a colorful life, full of rich experiences paralleled only by his famous paintings.
Picasso was born in 1881 in Spain. His birth name is 23 words long; the family called him Ruiz, not Pablo, when he was a boy.
His father taught drawing at a local Fine Arts school, which allowed Picasso to receive formal drawing and painting lessons from a very young age. In 1895, Picasso's father got a job at the School of Fine Arts in Barcelona. The professors at the school immediately recognized Picasso's talent; the young Picasso was accepted into the school and passed exams with comparable ratings to senior students.
At the tender age of 15, Picasso's famous oil painting "The First Communion" went on display in an exhibition in Barcelona. A year later, his painting "Science and Charity" won a competition in Malega. Picasso spent hours in the Prado, a local art museum, studying and copying works by master painters.
In 1898, Picasso came down with scarlet fever and was so sick that he had to take a break from school and art. Picasso finally recovered in early 1899 after more than six months of illness.
In 1900, Picasso changed his name from Ruiz to Pablo Picasso. He moved to Paris and strained his relationship with his parents by rejecting fine art styles in favor of new techniques. Picasso landed his first paid job, earning 150 francs each month for his paintings. Picasso wandered throughout Europe, a habit that he would continue for the rest of his life.
The blue period in Picasso's work began after his dear friend, Casegemas, shot himself in the head after a woman rejected his love. This triggered a flurry of paintings, starting with "Death of Casegemas," painted in shades of blue. For three years, Picasso moved almost constantly and painted many depressing paintings, all in shades of blue, depicting sorrowful scenes.
In 1904, Picasso began to work more colors into his palette again, especially shades of rose, which is why this time is referred to as his rose period. The subject matter he painted was still somber, depressing or disturbing, but lighter colors again appeared in his work. During these years, Picasso fell in love with a married model named Fernande Oliver, who refused to leave her husband. Picasso found himself fascinated by performers at the circuses he attended with Olivier. Many of his paintings from this era feature circus performers, who Picasso saw as representative of the outcasts of society.
In 1907, Picasso became fascinated with angular African sculptures. Inspired by these sharp angles, Picasso began to paint in the style now known as Cubism. He began by painting profile noses onto frontal views of faces, but the style soon evolved to include still life paintings of fruit and other subjects.
Picasso settled down and married a dancer named Olga Khokhlova. At first, Picasso returned to a more conventional style as he painted dancers and mothers with children. As his struggles with his celebrity status increased, his style changed again and again and he delved into surrealism. During this time, Picasso had an affair with a young nurse in charge of his child.
Picasso's work became political for a short while, including a mural he painted depicting the bombing of Guernica. Picasso actively handed the Nazis copies of anti-war prints he had produced during the occupation of France.
In his later years, Picasso devoted his talents to painting humanitarian images and fighting for peace. He even named one of his children Paloma, which means "peace". Picasso had many lovers over the years and seemed unable to remain faithful to any one woman. He passed away at the age of 92.
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Primary sources: http://www.arthistoryarchive.com/arthistory/cubism/Pablo-Picasso.html, http://pablo-picasso.paintings.name/biography/234