The life of Pablo Picasso is an exciting story of rebellion, riches, women and great art. In this episode of a four-part series dedicated to Modern Art, journalist Alastair Sooke travels through France, Spain and the US to see some of the artist’s great works and recount tales from his life story.
Talking to architects, fashion experts and artists, he investigates how Picasso’s influence, particularly that of his Cubist work, continues to pervade modern life today, in the shape of buildings, interior design, clothes and of course contemporary art. Tracking down former Picasso model Sylvette David to her current home in Britain, he also hears how Picasso’s images of her inspired the look of screen siren Brigitte Bardot.
Modern Masters – Picasso episode 3
Pablo Ruiz Picasso was a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, stage designer, poet and playwright who spent most of his adult life in France. Regarded as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, he is known for co-founding the Cubist movement, the invention of constructed sculpture, the co-invention of collage, and for the wide variety of styles that he helped develop and explore. Among his most famous works are the proto-Cubist Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907), and Guernica (1937), a dramatic portrayal of the bombing of Guernica by the German and Italian airforces during the Spanish Civil War.
Picasso demonstrated extraordinary artistic talent in his early years, painting in a naturalistic manner through his childhood and adolescence. During the first decade of the 20th century, his style changed as he experimented with different theories, techniques, and ideas. After 1906, the Fauvist work of the slightly older artist Henri Matisse motivated Picasso to explore more radical styles, beginning a fruitful rivalry between the two artists, who subsequently were often paired by critics as the leaders of modern art
Picasso’s work is often categorized into periods. While the names of many of his later periods are debated, the most commonly accepted periods in his work are the Blue Period (1901–1904), the Rose Period (1904–1906), the African-influenced Period (1907–1909), Analytic Cubism (1909–1912), and Synthetic Cubism (1912–1919), also referred to as the Crystal period. Much of Picasso’s work of the late 1910s and early 1920s is in a neoclassical style, and his work in the mid-1920s often has characteristics of Surrealism. His later work often combines elements of his earlier styles.