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Pablo Picasso Periods

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Pablo Picasso periods can be grouped in four parts.

pablo picasso painting boy with pipe

BLUE PERIOD (1901 -1904)

The blue period is called this way because of the colors used by Picasso during this part of life: mainly soft blue and subdued tonalities.

The blue period is a rather sad one for Picasso who while he is in Paris is nearly starving and very poor.

However, before I even knew of this naming, I noticed how beautiful and yes, "classic", the paintings of this phase in his life were.

Very gentle, delicate strokes, lot's of expressivness in his figures and very delicate drugthmanship of the hands and faces.

the famous "la vie" by Pablo Picasso is one of his masterpeices of the blue period
La vie, 1903

pablo picasso figures by the sea, 1903
Figures at sea, 1903

Pablo Picasso self-portrait 1901
Self portrait, 1901

PAblo Picasso Old Guitarist from 1903, blue period
Old guitarist, 1903



ROSE PERIOD (1904-1906)

As one can easily imagine, the rose period is distinguished by a change in mood, and a happier feeling which then get translated into warmer colors.

Clowns, saltimbanques and the circus are here favourites subjects

Picasso: the rose period in this example - At the Lapin Agile, 1905 (detail)
detailf of "At the Lapin Agile, 1905"

Pablo Picasso - Saltimbanques - 1905, the rose period
Saltimbanques, 1905

Pablo Picasso Garçon à la Pipe (boy with pipe), 1905, a rose period painting
Garçon à la pipe, 1905

Pablo Picasso Lady with a Fan, oil on canvas, 1905, rose period
Lady with a fan, oil on canvas, 1905


Africa sculpture of a headAFRICAN PERIOD (1907 - 1909)

Here Picasso's mind meet a bold message: African art and a total different, spontaneous way of reproducing people.

Obviously, this encounter has brought a lot of works and experiments in his Parisian studio and will eventually end in the most famous invention of modern figurative art: Cubsim!

African art had also an influence on Vlaminck, Derain and Matisse





CUBISM (1910 -1919)

Why must a nose be represented as our eyes see it in a certain moment and not as all the other way our same eyes see it? So let's put a nose in profile in frontal look.

Or why must a house seen from far cannot also be represented with a contemporaneous view from the top? In this way we create a new artistic way of looking at things. A high dynamic way to see with the eye of the mind!

Well, this concept has given the wrong idea that now painting can be easy because an artist who cannot draw well can ow be, well, an artist. the important things is to break the figurative rule.

In reality, only Picasso who was a superb draughtsmann (and Braque too could draw well) was able to create such a sideral step such as Cubism. Only an artist who master drawing from life can go beyond and create dynamism and so actually a new Art which manages to let us see what's inside one's imagination!

The masterpiece which started it all is Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907)

Les demoiselles d'Avignon by Pablo Picasso sign the beginning of Cubism


Pablo Picasso woman with pears oil on canvas, 1909, made during the summer in Horta de Hebro, Spain
Woman with pears, 1909, oil on canvas


Cubism was like a pandora vase.

Madame X, by Sargent
Madame x, 1884 by sargent


From then on, it seems that to be an artist meant not only to break the rules (the same did the Impressionist and also Sargent with his Madame X which caused a scandal at the time) but also to break the rules of figurative Art. In a way, this led to the creation of Abstract painting: you don't need to know how to draw anymore.

And here, today, perhaps, in 2010 we start witnessing a come back to the figurative, tired of Tate gallery style modern paintings which leave us perplexed?

Robert Bateman has to say something very interesting here (from his ideas's website):

"...During the 20th century an elite group has established itself as a sort of priesthood. They see the artist as a rebel leading the way onto thin ice and difficult tracks. The curator and critic priesthood holds the keys to the kingdom of "High Art". If the painting, music, literature is popular and easily appreciated, it is of no interest to the priesthood. Now that abstract art has become a branch of decorating, the aficionados have moved into tougher territory of nasty art. It is flagrantly anti-aesthetic and shuns the slightest hint of talent...

The myth of the artist as rebel really got going in the 19th century. Late 18th century revolutionary ideals captured the imagination of an intellectual elite, particularly in France where they were proud of throwing out the bath water and the baby. The 'Salon des Refuses' became legendary ...

The early 20th century saw the canonization of this myth. It was a great time of ferment. ... People were actually running around in black coats with bombs and blowing things up for the sake of destruction. All intellectuals had their favourite "isms" - anarchism, nihilism, Marxism, Leninism, communism, socialism, fascism and modernism. ....Some art intellectuals called for the burning down of all art museums, for the good of future art.

The first two decades were very exciting. Great modernist breakthroughs happened...Kandinsky did his Pollack precursor in 1910-11, Picasso painted 'Les Demoiselles d'Avignon' in 1907, Mies van der Rohe designed the Barcelona Pavilion in 1929 and Stravinsky wrote the Sacre du Printemps in 1913....

The driving force was the myth of the artist as a rebel and the rallying cry was "If it has been done before, it's not worth doing again!" Comfortable and bourgeois were to be avoided at all cost. Dealers and millionaire collectors, however, dutifully trotted along just one step behind, hoping for a repeat of the Van Gogh phenomenon. And what was the cutting edge one month became banal the next. The beleaguered avant-garde was forced to retreat further and further up the steps of the ivory tower and on to the precarious parapets where very few would dare to follow. And here we are today. Andy Warhol's famous predication has come true. The avant-garde artists are dying every fifteen minutes and the only thing that is not "in" any more is to say that something is "in".



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