Spanish painter, sculptor and ceramicist Pablo Picasso was born into a middle-class family in Malaga on 25 October 1881. His father was a Professor of Art at the School of Crafts, as well as the curator of a local museum. The talented artist showed a skill for drawing from an early age and apparently Picasso's first words were piz, piz, short for lapiz which means pencil in Spanish!
His father Ruiz was a traditional artist who believed that proper training required disciplined copying of the masters. From the age of seven, the young Picasso received formal training in figure drawing and oil painting. Soon, he became so preoccupied with art, that he neglected the rest of schooling. After his little sister Conchita died from diptheria, Picassos family moved to Barcelona where Ruiz convinced officials at the art academy to allow his son to take the entrance exam for an advanced class. Picasso impressed them by completing the process after one week, when it normally take one month.
At the age of 16, he was accepted into Madrid's Royal Academy of San Fernando. Picasso lived in Madrid by himself but stopped attending classes soon after enrolling, disliking the formal instruction style of the school. However, it was also during this time that Picasso started getting inspired by the paintings he saw in the Prado, stuffed with paintings by Velazquez and Goya. He was particularly mesmerized by the works of El Greco elements like the elongated limbs, vivid colours and mystical imageries are echoed in Picasso's later works such as the famous 'Demoiselles'.
In 1900 Picasso moved to Paris. Considered to be the singular most influential artist of the 20th Century, Picasso worked his way through a startling array of styles. These styles ranged from his melancholy early Blue period to Cubism (co-founded with Georges Braque), seen in the haunting Les Demoiselles DAvignon of 1907. Surrealism was adopted by the painter from 1926 onwards (though not painted in the same literal sense as his contemporaries such as Magritte). Indeed his ode to the Spanish Civil War, Guernica is a surrealist depiction of the horrors of battle, completed in 1936.
His tempestuous relationships with women fuelled the fire of his artistic inspiration, as they became his muses, seen in portraits of Dora Maar and his lovers, such as Francoise Gilot, who had a daughter, Paloma, in 1949 who was herself to become a successful accessories designer in the 1980s.
Picasso died on 8 April 1973 in Mougins, France whilst entertaining friends for dinner his last words to them were, Drink to me, drink to my health, you know I can't drink any more.
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