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Pablo Picasso Picasso’s Early Years Pablo Ruiz Picasso was born on Tuesday, October 25, 1881 in Spain. Picasso’s mother claims that his first word was “lapiz”, which is the Spanish word for pencil, and that he would draw and scribble on everything in site. Picasso’s Early Years

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picasso s early years
Picasso’s Early Years

Pablo Ruiz Picasso was born on Tuesday, October 25, 1881 in Spain.

Picasso’s mother claims that his first word was “lapiz”, which is the Spanish word for pencil, and that he would draw and scribble on everything in site.

picasso s early years3
Picasso’s Early Years

Picasso was introduced to art at a young age by his father who was an artist and art teacher. His father loved to paint the pigeons that flocked in the plaza outside the family home, and sometimes asked his young son to finish his paintings for him, something which the boy was more than able to do.

Picasso was accepted to attended several prestigious art schools throughout Spain and France.

early work
Early Work

Age 7 Age 11 Age 13

By the time Picasso was 13 his talent already overshadowed his father’s work.

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early work5
Early Work

Done at age 14… Done at age 16

As good as Picasso was at painting and drawing realistically, he wasn’t satisfied with it. He wanted to paint in new ways.

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The Blue Period

Towards the end of 1901, Picasso was very depressed about the death of a friend and started painting entirely in shades of blue. His subject matter was appropriately melancholy– the homeless, the hungry, the sick, and the poor. The shades of blue added to the sad mood of the paintings.

::Think about what feelings other colors evoke. What does the color red make you feel? What feelings does the color green give you?::


The Blue Period

In 1902, one critic remarked that a "sterile sadness...weighs on all this young man's work...but there is a force, a gift, a talent." During this time, Picasso was living the impoverished life of a struggling artist and hating it.

He continued painting in this style until the end of 1904, when rose tones began to dominate his palette.


The Rose Period

In April 1904, while working in Paris, Picasso was influenced by the French people’s love of life. He began using pink in his paintings and called this his Rose Period. His subjects were often circus people, especially harlequins and acrobats.


Along with friend George Braque, Picasso is credited with creating a style of art called Cubism. In a cubist painting objects are broken down into abstract, geometric forms.


The Guernica is one of Picasso’s most famous paintings. The scene depicts the aftermath of a horrific bombing that took place in 1937 in Spain during a civil war.

Bombs were dropped over the small town of Guernica killing hundreds of people. Picasso painted this because he felt that the world needed to remember what had happened there, and wanted show the affects of war from the victims' point of view.

Learn more about the Guernica by clicking HERE.


As we learned earlier, Picasso was very skilled at painting realistically. On the left is a self portrait done realistically in 1896… the one on the right is done in more of a cubist style where angles and shapes were the emphasis. In what ways are the two different? How is line and color used differently? Why do you think he chose to change his painting style?

Did you know?

Of the 10 most expensive paintings in the world, Picasso created 5 of them! The most expensive of the Picasso paintings sold for a whopping $51,671,920!!



Here are some other examples of Picasso’s unique portraits. One interesting characteristic is that on many of the faces we see two views of the head at once. Notice in these pictures we see both the side profile and the frontal view of the woman’s face at the same time.

Notice that many of the shapes are outlined in thick lines. Also pay attention to how Picasso used patterns, and to the type of colors he used.


Later Life and Work

Picasso was constantly working, and tried many different types of art including sculpture, painting, drawing, even stage design.

Picasso died in 1973 at the age of 92 but remains as outstanding among the art masters.    


Although most artists we read about make very little money and get little recognition while alive, Picasso was an exception to this rule and acquired much fame and fortune in his lifetime!

It’s been said that Picasso always paid for any of his bills with a check. Why did he do this? Well when you write out a check, you have to put your signature on it. Picasso was so famous that people didn’t cash his checks – the autograph on it was usually worth more then the amount the check was!


Now that you know a little about the life and work of Pablo Picasso, it’s YOUR turn to try your hand at a Picasso-style portrait!Keep in mind some of the characteristics of his portraits….

  • The people’s faces were not in correct proportion, but ABSTRACT.
  • Bold colors used
  • Most shapes were outlined with black line
  • Forms as geometric shapes
  • Use of pattern
  • More then one point of view at the same time
here s how to get started
Here’s how to get started…
  • First draw your Picasso styled face with the front and side profile at the same time.
  • Add some interesting details, patterns, and background.
  • Once you have drawn out your image go over your lines with black marker or paint.
  • Now it’s time to add bold color!


"It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child." ~ Pablo Picasso