The Full Picture: Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso. Credit: Arnold Newman/Liaison Agency

Pablo Picasso. Credit: Arnold Newman/Liaison Agency

Undisputedly known all over the world, Pablo Picasso is one of the most famous artists in the twentieth century. He remains so popular to this day that many museums worldwide are devoted to his work.

Picasso passed away on April 8, 1973, in France, with many facts still unknown about him.

Born in Malaga, Spain, in 1881, Picasso was considered a child prodigy. He supposedly could paint before he could talk.

At the age of 13, Picasso could outdraw his father who was an art teacher at the time and who then decided never to paint again. Instead, he would use his talents to pave the way for his son.

Picasso was not only a painter, either. He experimented with several mediums, from sculpture, drawing, printmaking and ceramics. And even within his painting career, he was never one to stick to a single style. His techniques changed dramatically throughout his life.

As a teenager, Picasso started off drawing realistic landscapes and slowly made his way to paintings of circus scenes and poverty-stricken children. He then co-founded Cubism, along with George Braque, which essentially translated into reducing objects to geometric figures. Picasso also experimented with collage, surrealism, expressionism, symbolism and dabbled with neoclassicism, eventually proving to be an accomplished and talented artist.

Francesco Morante website

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Picasso's "Les demoiselles d'Avignon" in 1907. Credit: Francesco Morante website

Despite being born in Spain, Picasso spent most of his life as an expatriate. In 1904, he made France his permanent residence but still made frequent visits to Spain. He even stayed in France during World War II, where the Nazis banned him from showing his work. Following the liberation of France from the Nazis, Picasso joined the French Communist Party in 1944. Though he did not always agree with the party actions, he signed a petition against the Soviet Invasion of Hungary in 1956.

What’s most known about Picasso is his productivity. He is often described as being extremely prolific. The ironic thing about this, though, is even after his passing away Picasso still broke records in terms of numbers. Only this time, it was the number of paintings stolen. According to, Picasso has had more paintings stolen than any other artist. As of 2012, that number amounted to 1,147.

Our perception of things is largely shaped by what we know and do not know about the things we see. Maybe the next time one looks at a painting or any work of art by Picasso, a different light will be shed that will paint a clearer picture about this influential artist’s life.

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Dana Kamand