HIS EARLY LIFE
On 25 October, 1881, a baby boy was born in Málaga, Spain. It was a difficult birth and to help him breathe, cigar smoke was blown into his nose! This baby grew up to be one of the twentieth century´s greatest painters – PABLO PICASSO.
Picasso showed his genius from a very young age. His first word was lápiz (Spanish for pencil) and he could draw before he could talk. He was the only son in the family, so he was thorougly spoiled. He hated school and often refused to go unless he was allowed to take one of his father´s pet pigeons with him!
Apart from pigeons, his great love was art. When in 1891 his father got a job as an art teacher, Pablo went with him to work and watched him paint. Sometimes he was allowed to help. One evening, his father was painting a picture of their pigeons when he had to leave the room. When he returned, Pablo had completed the picture. It was so beautiful and lifelike that he gave his son his palette and brushes and never painted again. Pablo was just thirteen.
HIS LIFE AS AN ARTIST
His genius as an artist was soon recognized by many people, but others were shocked by his strange and powerful paintings. He is probably best known for his Cubist pictures. His portraits of people were often made up of triangles and squares with their features in the wrong places. One of his most famous portraits was the American writer Gertrude Stein, who he met after he´d moved to Paris in 1904.
His work changed ideas about art around the world, and to millions of people, modern art means the work of Picasso. Guernica (below), which he painted in 1937, records the bombing of that small basque town during the Spanish Civil War, and is undoubtedly one of the maserpieces of modrn painting.
HIS FINAL YEARS
Picasso married twice and also had many mistresses. He had four children. The last, Paloma, was born in 1949 when he was 68 years old. At the age of 90 he was honoured by an exhibition in the Louvre in Paris. He was the first living artist to be shown there.
Picasso created over 6,000 paintings, drawings, and sculptures. Today, a Picasso costs millions of pounds. Once, when the French Minister of Culture was visiting Picasso, the artist accidentally spilled some paint on the Minister´s trousers. Picasso apologized and wanted to pay for them to be cleaned, but the Minister said, „Non! Please, Monsieur Picasso, just sign my trousers!“
Picasso died of heart failure during an attack of influenza in 1973.