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20th Century Genius - Pablo Picasso

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Introduction

20th Century Genius: Pablo Picasso Pablo Picasso was probably the most famous artist of the twentieth century. During his artistic career, which lasted more than 75 years, he created thousands of works, not only paintings but also sculptures, prints, and ceramics, using all kinds of materials. He almost single-handedly created modern art. He changed art more profoundly than any other artist of this century. First famous for his pioneering role in Cubism, Picasso continued to develop his art with a pace and vitality comparable to the accelerated technological and cultural changes of the twentieth century. Each change embodied a radical new idea, and it might be said that Picasso lived several artistic lifetimes. Picasso was born on October 25, 1881, in Malaga, Spain, son of an artist, Jose Ruiz, and Maria Picasso. Rather than adopt the common name Ruiz, the young Picasso took the name of his mother. At the age of 14, completed the one-month qualifying examination of the Academy of Fine Arts in Barcelona in one day. ...read more.

Middle

For Picasso the 1920's were years of rich artistic exploration and great productivity. Picasso continued to design theater sets and painted in Cubism, which are characterized as classical and surreal modes. From 1929 to 1931, he pioneered wrought iron sculpture with his old friend Julio Gonzalez. In the early 1930's, Picasso did a large quantity of graphic illustrations. In 1969, his 88th year, he produced out of his volcanic energy a total of 165 paintings and 45 drawings, which were exhibited at the Palace of the Popes in Avignon, France. One of his masterpieces was the monumental "Guernica," painted in 1937 and on loan for many years to the Museum of Modern Art in New York. An oil on canvas 11 1/4 feet high and 25 1/2 feet long, it is a majestic, stirring indictment of the destructiveness of modern war. By the late '30s, Picasso was the most famous artist in the world. Many other paintings from this period reflect the horror of war, but there is a consistent depiction of personal interest as well. ...read more.

Conclusion

Picasso the publicity seeker; Picasso the smoldering Spaniard; Picasso the joker and performer of charades; Picasso the generous; Picasso the Scrooge; even Picasso the playwright. Pablo Picasso died on April 8, 1973 in Mougins, France at the age of 91. A genius for the ages, Pablo Picasso remains without doubt the most original, the most protean and the most forceful personality in the visual arts. He took his gift and with it transformed the universe of art. Even in his own lifetime Picasso was already the most famous living artist. Now, twenty years after his death, his artistic achievements has gone down in history, his fame is as secure as ever, and his work and person still possess all their fascination for succeeding generations. The one thing that hold's Picasso's tremendous body of work together in spite of its unparalleled variety of styles is the sense it gives of restlessness, of dissatisfaction with any achievement, of constantly uncovering something new, of throwing it away, picking it up again, inventing, recombining, always searching. Picasso once said, "I do not seek--I find," but nothing he found ever satisfied him for long. ...read more.

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