One of the most famous artists in history is Pablo Picasso. His artwork is on display in numerous art museums around the world and his perspective has helped to create a number of different styles of artwork that others have attempted to replicate over the years. There are a number of interesting and fun facts about this incredible artist that will help us all to better understand who he was and why he painted the way he did.
1. He Had a Long, Long Name
We might know him as Pablo Picasso, but his mother named him Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Crispiniano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso. It’s a reflection of the family’s faith and the traditional incorporation of family names. Picasso’s mother always had big dreams for her son and told him that he could be whatever he wanted to be.
This is how Picasso described his mother: “When I was a child, my mother said to me, ‘If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general. If you become a monk, you’ll end up as the pope.’ Instead I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.”
2. His First Words Involved Art
Picasso’s mother was naturally proud of the artistic accomplishments that she got to see in her son. When she’d tell stories about him, one of the first ones that were always told involved his first words. The first thing that Picasso ever said in this world was to request a pencil.
That emphasis of wanting to create was the foundation of Picasso’s life. “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life,” he would say. His passion for drawing and art remained with him throughout his entire childhood and by 1890, he was receiving formal training in oil painting and figure drawing. It also helped that his father was also a painter.
3. His Sister Greatly Influenced His Work
When Picasso was 13, his sister, who was 7 at the time, got sick and passed away because she couldn’t overcome the diptheria she had contracted. This event devastated him for the remainder of his life and influenced his artwork on a number of levels. After her death, he dug into the world of art even deeper, including enrolling himself into formal educational studies.
He didn’t stay in school long, however, because he hated formal education. He loved to create instead. That passion continued to fuel his drive so that he was regularly painting by the age of 20 and only signing his last name. “I am always doing that which I cannot do,” Picasso once said, “in order that I may learn how to do it.”
4. He Had a Torrid Affair
When Picasso was in his mid-40’s, the trauma from his sister and a failed marriage culminated into a torrid affair with a 17 year old girl. He had a daughter that came from this affair, who was named Maya, and he also had a son with his wife, who was named Paulo. He never divorced his wife because it would entitle her to half of his riches. When Picasso’s wife died in 1955, she was still married to him legally.
Picasso would go on to have another romantic relationship with a younger woman and had two children from this relationship – Claude and Paloma.
5. Picasso Was a Poet and He Knew It
Part of the creative process is to continue that creativity in some fashion, even if you feel blocked from it. Sometimes that means you’ve got to be able to try something new to get back into your routine. From 1935 to 1959, Picasso wrote over 300 poems, rarely giving them a title. He would only note where he wrote the poem and the date of it.
6. It Was a Mystery Gift
Although Picasso is primarily known for his painting and sketches, he also was the occasional sculptor as well. Later in his life, in 1967, he created a public sculpture that he donated to the city of Chicago. The city even offered to pay him for the sculpture, but he refused to accept anything for it. Picasso never told anyone what the sculpture represents and it is unnamed. If you visit it in Daley Square today, you’ll often find kids climbing on the sculpture and sliding down it. The original maquette is also on display in the Art Museum of Chicago.
7. A Memorable Final Impression
Picasso died in 1973 in France. His last words were reported to be this: “Drink to me. Drink to my health. After all, you know I can’t drink any more.”
We remember the impact he had on the artistic community, but we often don’t think of the impact that Picasso had with the many relationships he developed with people. One of his former mistresses and his second wife both committed suicide after his death.
His view on women was not always flattering. “There are only two types of women,” Picasso would say. “Goddesses and doormats.”
8. There Is Great Punctuation
When looking at the whole of Picasso’s work, it can be divided into five basic categories. The Blue Period is where the death of his sister is influencing his work and many of the paintings are very somber. The Cubism periods helped to bring about some of the foundations of modern art that is created in the 21st century.
9. It’s Incredibly Valuable
Many of the paintings that Picasso produced over his lifetime rank amongst the most expensive paintings in the world. He has several paintings that have either sold for $100 million or more or have been valued at such a rate. This also means that more of Picasso’s paintings have been stolen over the years than those of any other artist.
Picasso’s philosophy on life was simple. Only put off the things that you are willing to have left undone if you should die and you will live a happy life. This philosophy made a definite impact on the world and through his work, Picasso will always be remembered.