Born in Málaga in 1881, Pablo Picasso is regarded as being the greatest and most influential artist of the 20th century. Encouraged to paint from an early age by his art teacher father, he was enrolled at the School of Fine Arts in Barcelona and the Madrid Academy, before leaving his studies to move to Paris in 1900. In Paris he associated with like-minded artists and poets, and began to receive critical attention for his own work. These melancholic early paintings are categorised as the ‘Blue Period’, which eventually gave way to the warmer tones of his ‘Rose Period’.
As a central figure in the Parisian art scene, Picasso experimented with a wide variety of styles and media – and invented several of his own. He drew inspiration from other artists, such as Cézanne and Rousseau, as well as a long line of mistress-muses. Particularly interested in primitive forms of art, he painted Les Demoiselles d’Avignon in 1907, a major work that marked a radical departure from traditional art. Although Picasso is linked most significantly to the invention of Cubism with Georges Braque, he also pioneered new collage techniques and contributed to important developments in Surrealism, Symbolism, and neo-classicism. The eclectic approach of this charismatic artist defies easy categorisation, and his legacy has impacted many eras beyond his own.
During his last years, Picasso lived and continued to work in the South of France. He died of a heart attack in 1973.