Arguably the most distinguished figure in twentieth century art, Pablo Picasso’s tireless innovation in an array of art forms – painting, draughtsmanship, ceramics, printmaking – had an unparalleled impact upon the development of art history. Born in Málaga, Spain, Picasso spent much of his career in France, initially in Paris before relocating to the south coast in his later life.
Over the course of his career, Picasso explored many subjects, yet it was his female muses, of which there were many across his lifetime, and the Iberian symbolism of the bull, which are most prominent throughout his oeuvre. In his early work, he was strongly influenced by African and Oceanic cultural artefacts. These informed his conception of Cubism, first made manifest in one of his most famous canvases, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, 1907 (Museum of Modern Art, New York). Picasso would subsequently explore a multitude of styles, with his versatility and irrepressible creativity touching upon subjects from still-lifes and landscapes, to reinterpretations of history’s most celebrated artworks. In 1937, Picasso painted his most well-known work, Guernica, widely considered to be one of the most powerful ant-war paintings, in response to the Fascist bombing of the Basque country town Guernica at the request of the Spanish Nationalists during the Civil War.
Museums dedicated to Picasso can be found in his hometown of Malaga, as well as Paris and Barcelona. Recent exhibitions include Picasso – 1932, Tate Modern (London, 2018), Picasso, Blue and Rose, Museé d’Orsay (Paris, 2019) and Picasso and Paper, Royal Academy (London, 2020).