Pablo Picasso Prints

Written by Blaire Chandler-Wilcox
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Pablo Picasso paintings (Spanish 1881-1973) are perhaps the best examples of work by this foremost figure of 20th century art. Although he was a master of multiple mediums, including sculpture, graphic arts, and ceramics, it is Pablo Picasso's paintings that most clearly display his genius. Picasso experimented with, and was adept at, every style of painting in existence. However, his greatest works are characterized by three main phases: his Blue period (1901-1904), his Rose period (1905-1906), and that for which he is most famous, Cubism (1906 - 1973).

Pablo Picasso Paintings: From Blue to "Mon Dieu!"

Picasso's Blue period paintings are melancholy in nature and depict scenes of misery and despondence. The heavy use of deep blue conveys clearly Picasso's sadness and sense of isolation during this time of his life. Much of this work was motivated by the suicide of his close friend Casagemas after he was spurned by a lover. Casagemas and the woman in question are depicted in Picasso's most famous painting of this period, "La Vie".

Pablo Picasso paintings from the Rose period still retain blue as the primary motif, but the color is applied more lightly and new hues of beige and "rose" begin to appear. The subject matter is also less depressing. In the Rose period we first see the circus performers that will populate Picasso paintings in different stages for the rest of his career.

In 1906 Picasso began, with his colleague Braque, to paint in a truly revolutionary style. "Cubism" is the exploration of space in strictly geometrical terms. This nearly sculptural style informed the majority of Picasso's works for the rest of his days, and caused him to be the most famous and influential painter in the world. These cubist paintings, though they are separated by the various stages of the movement as created by Picasso, all bear the unmistakable stamp of the master. Perhaps better than any other style, Picasso's cubist paintings capture the anguish and confusion of an uncertain world.


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