Pablo Picasso – One of the Founders of Cubism. His Bio & Most Famous Works

            Biography of Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) was a great and the most provocative painter of the 20th century. Together with a talented French cubist Georges Braque, is regarded as one of the main founders of cubism art movement. He left his traces almost in every trend of modern art.

A future legend was born in 1881. He decided to take his mother’s family name because his father’s family name sounded too trivial for him and, moreover, his father was also a painter.

That’s why from the early childhood, he had a person to get knowledge from. Sometimes his father even allowed Pablo to finish his own paintings by finishing bird’s claws and something like this.

Pablo Picasso at work
Pablo Picasso at work

According to the legend, once the father let him finish more serious and large-scale work, and after the work was done, he was absolutely impressed by the way Picasso did it, by his style and technique. After this, his father allegedly quit painting at all.

The relations between a son and father were pretty strained, mainly because of some sort of a rivalry between them. At 16 Pablo went to the best possible painting school in Madrid, where he didn’t study for a long time, but all his classmates and teachers immediately noticed his talent and were greatly amazed by his skills.

At that time, he became interested in different sides of living in a big city and also plunged into the works of his favorite painters like Diego Velazquez, Francisco Goya and, especially, El Greco. Pablo Picasso had lived a long life, never stopped creating.

During his 91-year long life, he faced many different times and creative changes, many romantic encounters with women, got lucky to live in dozens of gorgeous mansions and died as a multimillionaire.

      The Prolific Work of Pablo Picasso

The teachers of the Madrid Royal Academy of Fine Arts described a teenager as a brilliant talent. However, Pablo soon announced to his parents, that there reigned a pure conservatism and that he couldn’t learn anything new there. At 15, the young artist created a work of profound content and meaning – “Science and Charity”.

The painting was awarded a gold medal, and soon after this, at a “The Four cats restaurant”, Picasso’s first personal exhibition took place. In 1900, Picasso visited Paris and literally fell in love with it. He decided to move there 4 years later.

In his works, the author removes all the unnecessary elements from his works perfectly conveying the emotional state of the characters. During the time, the palette of his paintings becomes less varied with blue color prevailing.

Picasso self-portrait, cubism
                     Pablo Picasso – Self-portrait

His works are filled with a deep feeling of sadness and loneliness. There were some changes in his life and art after his acquaintance with the Russian patron and collector Pyotr Shchukin. He bought several paintings of the young artist, and finally, a love to a red-haired beauty Fernande Olivier strongly influenced his life. It was her, who inspired him to create a famous image of women with a guitar.

The girl lived in the same house as the master. Picasso was so jealous, that he even decided to put the lock on the door in order to guard his treasure. No wonder that more bright and light colors appeared in his pictures. They spent about 7 years together, and after their separation in 1912, she published a book “Picasso and his Friends”.


The next stage in the life of Pablo, which is called “Pink”, was influenced by his fascination with a circus. Harlequins and street gymnasts are his favorite characters. Miniature female gymnast wants to keep her balance while standing on the swivel ball.

She is impressed by her own success, showing a man sitting next to her, her agility and grace (“Girl on the Ball”, 1905). The picture possesses a truly magical property: not a single detail can’t be excluded because in such a case, all the composition will break up.

Make sure you read other articles about cubist artists, cubism art, etc

In 1906, his manner of painting changed drastically. He started combining geometric objects with human figures. In his painting about the French brothel, which is considered to be one of his most famous works, the master created an absolutely new reality by building figures from geometric volumes that had sharp and broken angles. The public and Pablo’s friends were really shocked. But this exact work is considered to be a starting point of cubism.

Spanish factory by Picasso (cubism)
                                     Spanish factory by Picasso

The “Cezanne” stage can be characterized by gray, brown and green tones (“Woman with a fan”, 1907) and the image is based on the comparison of geometric shapes. Analytical cubism literally breaks up the image into pieces. The canvas reminds the shatters of broken glass that keep the human reflection (“The portrait of Ambroise Vollard”, 1910).

The Synthetic cubism can be recognized by the abundance of decoration and contrast (“Violin and guitar”, 1913). There is a rumor, that this painting contains a coded message to his next lover Eva Gouel, with whom they had common acquaintances. Despite the fact that the audience criticized most of his brave ideas, his paintings sold very well.

   Pablo Picasso’s Inspiration – Women

In 1917, the artist decided to try himself at a new occupation by creating decorations and costumes for Diaghilev ballet performances in Paris. Olga Khokhlova danced in the corps de ballet, had a proud bearing, was aristocratically subtle and inaccessible. They were passionate lovers and, eventually, they got married.

Olga tried to somehow influence her husband in order to make him more elegant and exquisite. However, it soon turned out that they had completely different types of personality and didn’t get on very well. The situation was so bad, that even the birth of the son didn’t save their dying relationship.

Pablo Picasso and Olga Khokhlova, 1917
                        Pablo Picasso and Olga Khokhlova, 1917

Starting from 1927, a blond mysterious beauty started to appear in the artist’s pictures (“The dream”, 1932). Her name was Marie-Therese Walter, and at that time, some surrealistic manners could be recognized in his works. He tried to express himself in some other way. They had a love affair and in 1935, their daughter “Maya” was born.

But unfortunately, their relationship was also not very long. It must also be said, that the couple was not officially engaged. After this, Picasso became interested in avant-garde photographer Dora Maar. She shot the whole process of creating the famous triptych “Guernica” – the Master’s response to the wartime events.


She was the main Picasso’s model for quite a long time, but the woman with whom he managed to experience a real joy of life, was a young painter Francoise Gilot. She was very self-reliant, freedom-loving and they spent about 10 years together. She presented the master a son Claude in 1947 and a daughter Paloma in 1949.

Obviously, Picasso’s official wife Olga and his previous woman Dora were not happy about the fact that he used to change one woman for the other, but this shows exactly what type of a person the legendary Pablo Picasso was.

Many years after their separation, Francoise wrote “Life with Picasso”. The book sheds a light on their life during that particular period of time. The book became a bestseller, and no wonder, that Picasso didn’t want the book to be published.


The last woman in his life, who also was his second official wife, Jacqueline Roque, used to kiss his hands and call him “Monsignor”. One of his best late artworks is called “The Kiss”, 1969. Everything in this painting looks extremely magnified. The woman clung to her beloved man with a great trust and devotion, admiring the traits, which she appreciates in him.

          The Secret Formula of Cubism

It’s very hard to say whether or not Pablo Picasso truly loved all of his women or it was just some sort of a temporary affection. But there is one thing that we can be sure of: he needed all of them in order to leave a priceless heritage of a genius, the meaning of which can hardly be overestimated.

It includes 50 000 paintings, sculptures, ceramics and drawings, and the whole full-fledged art movement which is called cubism. Such a creative energy has completely changed the landscape of world art. Even during his life, Picasso was a recognized genius of the 20th century. If you want to discover each period of his career in more detail, I suggest you check out this great book.


Definition of Cubism. Facts & Examples of Cubist Art

Cubism can be defined as a modernist trend in European art (mostly in painting and sculpture) that appeared at the beginning of the 20th century (circa 1907) and existed till the early 1920s, mostly because of the fact, that at that particular point in time, the classical art faced a serious crisis.

Artists searched for some new ways of representing their feelings and emotions and this is exactly how a completely new movement in art, which enabled them to look at the whole art from a different perspective, was invented.

The Brothel of Avignon by Picasso (Cubism)
    The Brothel of Avignon  (1st cubist painting)                       Check out the Wall Print Here

The First & Most Famous Cubist Painting

Like impressionism and surrealism, the appearance of cubism, helped people to rethink everything that was created before. The origins of cubism are closely connected with the name of the famous Spanish painter Pablo Picasso. Somewhere around 1907-1908, he started to be interested in primitive African sculpture. Its chopped forms inspired Picasso to strive for more abstract forms and images.

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The first picture in this style is considered to be “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” (The brothel of Avignon). (Now this picture is located in the museum of modern art in New York). It was created in 1907 and contained grotesque, deformed and rough figures painted without any effects of light, shade or perspective. It was a combination of geometric forms, lines, and sharp angles. Starting from this work, Picasso stopped using optical realism features, refused nature, perspective, light, and shade.

           The Appearance of Cubist Art

The birthday of cubism in art is considered to be the meeting of Pablo Picasso and a young French painter Georges Braque. It happened when a French poet Guillaume Apollinaire invited Braque to Picasso’s studio. Picasso and Braque became the founders of Cubism and worked in close cooperation until the 1st world war, creating the history of cubism. Later many other young Parisian painters and poets joined them and in 1908, they announced the appearance of a new movement in art.

The term “Cubism” was accidentally invented by a French painting critic Louis Vauxcelles, who tried to somehow name that weird group of painters, who were portraying the regular world with the help of combinations of such geometric forms and figures as a cube, a sphere, a cylinder, and a cone. To be more exact, the definition was invented when the critic was describing the painting by Braque, in which a house was portrayed as a cube, and a tree resembled a cylinder.

A cubist painting by Picasso
                    A cubist painting by Picasso

Cubist artists didn’t want to follow the old traditions of realistic art. They didn’t intend to make their works resemble real objects to such an extent like it was before. That’s why the objects in the pictures look rather abstract. Sometimes objects in the pictures don’t have almost anything in common with their real prototypes and turn into abstract symbols that can be understood only by the author of a picture. They didn’t want their works to be so lustrous and beautiful, like those that people could see in salons or at exhibitions.

Painters intentionally limited the use of color palettes. The canvases look pretty dull and faded because painters used mostly gray, black and brown tones. The painters thought that this might create a special and unique artistic effect. Thanks to its flat and two-dimensional look, the paintings are very easily recognized. The cubist works, in general, look very ascetic and simple, resemble African sculptures.

Woman with a guitar by Picasso (cubism)
               Woman with a guitar by Picasso

Instead of looking at the object from one possible angle, the painter divides the image into several parts, and after this puts all the fragments from different viewpoints together into one picture. It was an attempt to develop a new plastic language that was concordant with the epoch of urbanization and scientific-technical progress. Some cubist artists thought that machines and planes are the highest embodiment of beauty, not the human body.

The motives of the pictures are also very elementary. For example, a house, a tree, a utensil. It’s especially noticeable in the early stage of cubism which was greatly influenced by a French painter Paul Cezanne (his posthumous exhibition took place in Paris in 1907).

Cubism in paintings is not just a regular portrayal of an object. It’s a portrayal of an object that was mentally destructed and then was created anew in the mind of a painter. We can single out 3 stages of cubism: the early stage (also known as Cezanne period), analytical, synthetic.

      The End of Cubism Art Movement

We can say that at the beginning of the 1920s cubism was almost over. No, it was not fully forgotten, because it continued to inspire and influence the development of world art. Kazimir Malevich mentioned in his book “From Cubism and Futurism to Suprematism” that the cubist art served as a source of his creative work.

There is no doubt that cubism made a huge sensation in the whole world. It was cubism that opened the way to abstract creativity, gave the audience an opportunity to independently interpret symbols that appear in the works of the cubists.

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An animation of inanimate objects and mechanisms has become a favorite technique of fine art, animation, and commercials of the 20th and 21st centuries. Cubism in painting prepared the mass consciousness of the audience and artists, serving as a basis for the development of such movements of abstract art as futurism, constructivism, and many others. The cubist plastic language elements are still being used by modern artists. For people who are seriously interested in cubist art, I advise reading this fascinating work.