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8 keys to understand Picasso. Picasso tells us.

pablo picasso

I have the impression that I’ve always known Picasso and he is part of my history and the history of the country where I was born. In the 70’s hung a poster of El Guernica in our living room, like in many homes of my friends, when the painting and the artist were exiled. We lived in a working class neighborhood of Madrid, Zarzaquemada, and I went to a creative, idealistic school at the end of the dictatorship. I first heard of Picasso at school. Picasso was a symbol of freedom in politics, but also artistic. With 11 years we knew of Cubism, the avant-garde, bohemian Paris and the innovative Picasso.

I’ve always wondered who Picasso really was, is he a genius (I do not believe in genius), but … What makes him different? What did he think? Does he own creative systems? To know what he said or thought, helps us to understand him. Here are 8 keys:

1. He loved art.

“I love art and art is the only purpose in my life. It gives me an immense joy.” Picasso

His life and work are connected. His wives, friends, cities where he lived, what he thought and felt is reflected in his work. Very interesting is the Dutch TV program, “Krabbe seeks Picasso”. It shows who Picasso was by the places he had been and what happened there.

2. He does not seek, he finds. The importance of accident.

“When I paint, my goal is to show what I’ve found what I was looking for” Picasso

Picasso made a distinction between searching and finding; the quest is deliberately finding is accidental. This difference was fundamental in his creative system. The search is something consciously controlled by the brains; The finding is uncontrollable, random, it just happens like that. Picasso paints, he gives the accident to chance to do its work.

3. His guide was freedom: spontaneous, unpredictable, intuition.

“Painting is freedom!”

“Often a painting portrays more than the artist would capture, and he is surprised by the unexpected result. Sometimes the birth of a work is a spontaneous and unpredictable event ….” Picasso

His way of working is based on freedom of thought and action, therefore the spontaneity and intuition are part of the creative process.

“When I paint, I work very slowly. I do not want to spoil the first freshness of the work. If I could, I would make it so, and would start again or move on another canvas. Then I would do the same again with the second canvas . Never would I finish a painting, but indeed the different states of the same work, which usually disappear during the work are important … I paint so many paintings because I search the spontaneity, and if I express something good, I don’t dare to add more. ” Picasso

4. Ideas are the starting point. Perfection is going from one painting to another.

“I know nothing … The ideas are simple principles. It is rare that I can express them as they come to my mind. If I’m going to create other there exists ideas in the pen. To start working, you should start doing it. What arises independently of my will, interests me more than my ideas. it is very difficult to avoid doing the same things. It is often an obsession, but whatfore would you work if it was not for a better expression, we must always strive for perfection, it is clear that this word does not have the same meaning for everybody, for me this means:?.. going from one painting to another, always further. .. “Picasso

The idea was for Picasso only a beginning, not an end. He tried to express a work better and better going from one to another work.

“An artist is always working with things and emotions, ideas … about the inner life of man” Picasso

Picasso is not revolutionary in the use of his themes, he follows the themes of the twentieth century: motherhood, naked, still lifes, portraits … New is the way he portrays it. Picasso was interested in the inner life of man, the drama of humanity, the emotional impact.

5. His styles are variations. Art transforms.

“The different styles that I used in my art can not be considered as an evolution or a step that aims to achieve the ideal of painting … I am not subject to rules and therefore I have no style.” “Most painters prepare small jigs and make “pastries”. Always the same “pastries”. And they are very satisfied. An artist should never do what people expect of him. The style is the worst enemy of the painter.” Picasso

The variations that Picasso makes of a series of tests were not simple, but phases of the transformation of an idea, the same idea that evolves.

“You can not prevent that different themes require different methods of expression.” Picasso

This explains why Picasso sculpts, paints, illustrates, makes pottery, works with various forms of art. It was the best way to represent the same idea, to adapt to the medium with which he worked.

“A work of art transforms the viewer and the artist must know the different options for the viewer. Therein lies the meaning of art, its function.” Picasso

6. I do not make abstract art.

“I do not make abstract art, because abstract art does not exist and can not exist. Art is always the representation of reality. You should always start with something. Then you can remove all traces of reality … If I want to paint a cup wants, I make it natural round. However, the rhythm of the picture, the composition may force me to depict the round and square. ” “Photography has come at the right moment to liberate painting. Painting is freedom! If you jump, you can also fall on the wrong side of the rope. But if you do not want to risk falling on your face, what can you do? In that case, it’s best not to jump “Picasso

Picasso was not against abstract art, but more against the intention to communicate something that communicates nothing. He does not believe in abstract art that plays only with combinations of shapes and colors, without content. Since the photography, the artist no longer needs to portray reality as our eyes see. Cubism was born, first vanguardia, which breaks are represented by the traditional perspective, all parts of an object in the same plane.

7. The genius of childhood.

“What is considered as premature genius is the genius of childhood. And it disappears over the years; I didn’t have this genius. My first drawings could not be exhibited in an exhibition of children’s drawings. I missed the awkwardness of the child, his naivety. I was seven years when I created academic drawings with such painstaking accuracy that it startled me. “Picasso

Picasso, the child, painted as an adult, he had a great mastery of technique. He copied from his youth his father, an art teacher in Malaga. Picasso’s work evolved, went from the realism to the originality in naivety. In Picasso, we find the typical elements of the child’s drawing, disappear from the spatial perspective, relationship between objects and environment, draws possible profiles, the color does not match the natural color, it is associated with emotion.

“From childhood I painted like Raphael, but it takes to learn a lifetime to draw like a child” Picasso

8. He does not speak of beauty.

“I hate people who talk about beauty. What is beauty? In painting, we should talk about problems. The paintings are nothing but research and experiment! I paint never a work of art. All my paintings are investigating. I researched constantly, and in this constant quest is a logical development. Therefore, I number and I date the paintings. Maybe someone will thank me one day. Painting is a matter of intelligence.” Picasso

Picasso doesn’t not seek the beauty, the canon, the rule. For him, the academic understanding of beauty is false. he is not interested in physical beauty, he wants to delve into the inner life of man.

Text and illustration by Ángeles Nieto – Pablo Picasso


– “Picasso, sistema creativo propio”. Andrés Luque Teruel. Espacio y tiempo, revista de Ciencias Humanas. N 21-2007. Pp. 95-121

– Temas y modelos en la obra de Picasso INMACULADA JULIÁN

– El niño que acabó siendo Picasso. Elsa Fernández- Santoshttp://cultura.elpais.com/cultura/2013/02/25/actualidad/1361822328_166644.html -Picasso,

– El desarrollo de un niño. María José Mas Salguerohttp://www.nextdoorpublishers.com/2016/10/picasso-el-desarrollo-de-un-nino/


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