Creator / Pablo Picasso
The face of 20th century modern art.
My mother said to me, "If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the Pope." Instead, I was a painter, and became Picasso.
(1881-1973) is considered to be the most famous, influential and important painter of the 20th century. Best known for his cubist style, he was a versatile artist who worked in many different styles and was both a painter as a sculptor. He is perhaps one of the more infamous examples of True Art Is Incomprehensible
. To this day you'll find people who consider Picasso's work to be unworthy of being called "art"
He was the subject of two documentaries, "Visit to Picasso" (1949)
and "The Mystery of Picasso" (1956)
, in which he famously paints directly on to the camera.
His life has been made into two noteworthy films, the Swedish mockumentary The Adventures Of Picasso (1978)
and "Surviving Picasso" (1996)
with Anthony Hopkins
This creator provides examples of the following tropes:
- Art Imitates Life: Picasso based some of his paintings on the Spanish Civil War, the Holocaust and the Korean War.
- Art Evolution: If you compare his early, realistic work to his more famous cubist work: you're in for a surprise!
- Body Horror: The people in his paintings look like this.
- Child Prodigy: Contrary to what most people think Picasso was a remarkably realistically acurate painter at a young age.
- Creator Recovery: Following the suicide of his close friend, he fell into a severe depression that formed the basis of his Blue Period (1901-1904). His paintings were very sombre, and always made heavy use of blue to signify his mourning. However, in 1904, Picasso entered a romantic relationship with artist & model Fernande Olivier, leading to his Rose Period (1904-1906). With his psychological health regained, Picasso's paintings heavily featured pink tones, and many of them featured harlequins, clown, and circus performers to show off how much better Picasso was feeling.
- Dead Artists Are Better: Picasso was already a millionaire during his lifetime, but after his death his work become more profitable than before.
- Deadpan Snarker: While living in Nazi-occupied Paris, he was reportedly asked by a German officer who had seen a photograph of Guernica, "Did you do that?" He replied, "No, you did."
- Deliberately Monochrome: "Guernica" is in black and white; Picasso felt that gave it the immediacy of a newspaper photograph.
- His Blue and Rose Periods were so named because those colors predominated in his paintings, making them an example of Limited Palatte.
- Fanart: He famously made 58 variations on Diego Velasquez's "Las Meninas".
- Follow the Leader: Inspired almost every 20th century (and beyond) graphic artist or sculptor who wasn't a traditionalist.
- Grotesque Gallery: Most of his images.
- Infant Immortality. Subverted in the painting "Guernica", where a mother cries over her dead baby.
- Kavorka Man: married twice, kept multiple mistresses regardless of his own marital status, had May-December romances, fathered three illegitimate children, refused to have his way with a woman who said he could have his way with her because she offered no resistance, and two of his exes committed suicide after his death.
- Nightmare Face: Many people on his paintings would count. For example "The Weeping Woman"
- Nom de Mom: Young Pablo Ruiz since ca. 1898 used his mother's family surname Picasso and became famous as Pablo Picasso. (Some have theorized that this may have been because Ruiz is a fairly common name in Spain).
- Not Good with People: Picasso devoted his entire life to his art and wasn't very fond of committed relationships.
- Although like mentioned below, Picasso has several mistresses.
- Odd Friendship: With the Fauvist Henri Matisse, an older and much less confrontational artist.
- Overly Long Name: Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruiz y Picasso. The only surnames in there are "Ruiz" and "Picasso" at the end, used in standard Spanish fashion (the first is his father's surname and the second his mother's, joined by an "y" as per a now outdated convention). The rest are given names his parents piled on him to honour various saints and relatives - naming children after those is common in Spanish, but it seems to have got out of control here. Technically Picasso's surname was actually "Ruiz".
- Really Gets Around: Picasso had numerous mistresses.
- The Rival: Salvador Dalí, who certainly matched Picasso in fame. Dali once said the following about Picasso: "Picasso is a painter, so am I; [...] Picasso is a Spaniard, so am I; Picasso is a communist, neither am I."
- Shout-Out: Picasso made some paintings reinterpreting works of older masters, such as Diego Vélazquez' Las Meninas.
- Small Reference Pools: Picasso is one of the most famous painters of all time and perhaps the easiest to reference or namedrop. This due to his recognizable style and strong association with cubism, which is still perceived as somewhat snobbish and a prime example of True Art Is Incomprehensible.
- Spanish Civil War: The 1938 bombardment of the Spanish town Guernica inspired Picasso to his most famous work "Guernica".
- Spiking the Camera: In the famous documentaries "A Visit To Picasso" and "The Mystery Of Picasso" Picasso paints on the camera.
- Spiritual Successor: Every non-traditionalist modern 20th century artist owes something to Picasso.
- Spooky Painting: "Guernica"
- Thousand-Yard Stare: Picasso had a very penetrating stare.
- War Is Hell: Guernica, perhaps the most iconic anti-war painting of all time, depicts the Spanish Civil War bombardement of the Spanish town Guernica.
- What Could Have Been: David Attenborough tells a story in his autobiography about his attempt to create a highbrow station ident for BBC2. As he was already on good terms with both Picasso and Igor Stravinsky, he figured it would be a real coup to have Picasso do the visuals and Stravinsky the music. Picasso was actually up for it, provided Stravinsky agreed too, but Stravinsky's Composer Existence Failure in 1971 put the kibosh on it.
References to Picasso in popular culture