8 Interesting facts about Pablo Picasso
Without question one of the greatest and most wildly talented artists of the 20th century, Picasso lived an interesting life not only as an accomplished painter, sculptor and ceramist but also as an inventor of new art forms, techniques and genres. Throughout it all, his charismatic personality and insatiable energy for life made him one of the most fascinating people of our time.
Here are our top most interesting facts about this great artist:
1) Picasso was born in the city of Málaga in the Andalusian region of Spain. Named after various saints and relatives, his name consists of 23 characters – Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruíz y Picasso.
2) Born an extremely small baby, Picasso was mistaken for a tragic stillborn and was sadly propped on a table by his midwife who thought that all hope was lost. It was only when his uncle, a doctor, blew smoke in his face that baby Picasso reacted.
“Doctors at that time used to smoke big cigars, and my uncle was no exception. When he saw me lying there he blew smoke into my face. To this I immediately reacted with a grimace and a bellow of fury.”
3) Picasso was considered a child prodigy but was a terrible student in school. He did not perform well academically, but could supposedly draw before he could even talk. By the age of 13, he out-mastered his father, an art teacher who promptly handed over his brushes and palette to his son and swore that he would never paint again.
“For being a bad student I was banished to the ‘calaboose’ – A bare cell with whitewashed walls and a bench to sit on. I liked it there, because I took along a sketch pad and drew incessantly… I could have stayed there forever drawing without stopping.”
4) Picasso completed his first painting when he was only nine years old. The title of the painting was “Le Picador” and showed the image of a man riding a horse in a bullfight.
5) Behind every great artist is a muse, and Picasso certainly had more than his fair share. He was married twice and had four children by three different women. His eldest son Paulo was borne with his first wife Olga Khokhlova, daughter Maya with mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter, and son and daughter Claude and Paloma, with mistress Françoise Gilot. Picasso was greatly inspired by all the women in his life and voraciously depicted them in his paintings.
Picasso’s most expensive portrait sold to date, titled “Nude, Green Leaves and Bust” features Marie-Thérèse Walter and was inspired by a photograph taken by Man Ray, selling for a record-breaking $106.5 million dollars in 2010.
6) Picasso might have been renowned as a painter, but the well-rounded artist in him continually challenged his creative boundaries by experimenting with different mediums throughout his life, creating an endless stream of sculptures, ceramics, drawings and prints. Between the years of 1917 to the 1940s, Picasso even designed the sets and costumes for ballets, wrote a few hundred poems and authored two plays.
7) The appeal of Picasso’s paintings has proven to be so strong that the artist has the dubious honour of having more paintings stolen than anyone else. According to the Art Loss Register, an organization that helps to track and recover stolen art from around the world, more than 1200 works of Picasso’s art have been officially listed as stolen, missing or disputed. In 2015, an elderly electrician who worked for the artist received a 2-year sentence for possessing 271 never seen paintings by the artist, which he claimed were a gift from the Picasso’s family.
8) An exceptionally prolific artist, it is estimated that Picasso produced more than 50,000 art works that include paintings, sculptures, ceramics, drawings, prints, tapestries and even rugs. He was even working on a painting the night before he died. Unfortunately, at the time of his death in 1973, Picasso did not leave a will behind and the distribution of his wealth and art became the responsibility of his family, which ultimately led to a series of legal battles and contention.
“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.”
– Pablo Picasso
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