Pablo Picasso: Everything You Didn't Know About The Avant-Garde Artist

By | October 23, 2020

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This file pictured dated October 13, 1971 shows Spanish painter Pablo Picasso in Mougins, France. (RALPH GATTI/AFP via Getty Images)

As the father of cubism, Pablo Picasso was easily the most influential artist of the 20th century and perhaps the greatest. During his lifetime, Picasso's genius touched almost every artistic medium, from ceramics and sculpture to painting and even stage design.

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Picasso with his sister, Lola, 1889. (Anonymous/Wikimedia Commons)

Pablo Picasso's Early Life

When Picasso was born on October 25, 1881, in Malaga, Spain, he was given the name Pablo Diego Jose Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno Crispin Crispiniano Maria Remedios de la Santisima Trinidad Ruiz Picasso, but since that signature wouldn't fit on a check, he was simply called Pablo Picasso. He came by his artistic ability honestly: His father, Jose Ruiz Blasco, was an art professor. Both his father and his mother, Maria Picasso Lopez, encouraged Picasso's fondness for drawing and artistic endeavors. In fact, according to legend, young Picasso's first word as an infant was piz, the Spanish word for "pencil."

By the time Picasso was 10 years old, his talent was so evident that the whole family moved so the lad could enroll in classes at the school where his father taught. Pablo, however, was not a stellar student. He was often sent to detention, but he was allowed to take his sketchbook with him, so he relished the quiet time to work alone. Within a few years, Blasco put his own career on hold to focus on his son's talents, supplying his son with models to sketch and even sponsoring his first exhibition.

In 1895, Picasso and his family moved to Barcelona, where the teenage artist made a splash in the artistic community. The next natural move was to Madrid, the capital of Spain. In 1897, he enrolled in the Royal Academy of San Fernando, but he once again felt stifled by the strict rules of academia. Instead of going to class, he hung out in the city's brothels and wandered its great museums. Once he made the decision to drop out of school, he set his sights on Paris.