Pablo Picasso was born in Málaga, Spain on October 25, 1881. From the age of seven, Picasso received formal artistic training from his father, Jose Ruiz, who was also a painter. It was soon apparent to Ruiz that his son surpassed his talent, and Picasso was sent to Madrid's Royal Academy of San Fernando.
Picasso's early work can be categorized into four periods: The Blue Period (1901-1904), the Rose Period (1905-1907), the African-influenced Period (1908-1909) and Cubism (1909-1919). The Blue Period consists of somber paintings rendered in shades of blue and blue-green. The Rose Period is characterized by a more cheery palette of orange and pink colors, featuring many circus people such as acrobats and harlequins. The harlequin, depicted in checkered patterned clothing, became a personal symbol for Picasso himself. The African-influenced Period took elements from traditional African sculpture, which then led to Picasso's Cubist Period, in which objects are broken up, analyzed, and re-assembled in an abstracted form.
In the years after Cubism, Picasso again continued to easily vacillate between a wide variety of styles, including a neoclassical style during the 1920s, effortlessly combining his myriad of influences into a colorful and expressionistic style uniquely his own. Picasso’s life and work was deeply informed by his many love affairs with such women as Marie-Thérèse Walter, Dora Maar, and Françoise Gilot. Picasso painted many portraits of his lovers throughout his career, many of which are now his most prized works.
Picasso is considered one of the most recognized figures of the 20thcentury. After his death, he left an extensive body of work, which eventually was compiled in the Musée Picasso in Paris. His work is in the collection of every major institution, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; Tate Modern, London; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; and the Art Institute of Chicago, among others.
Pablo Picasso died April 8, 1973 in Mougins, France.