25 October 1881 – 8 April 1973
Born in the city of Málaga in the Andalusian region of Spain, Picasso was the first child of Don José Ruiz y Blasco and María Picasso y López.
Picasso was baptized Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Crispiniano de la Santísima Trinidad.
Picasso’s family was middle-class; his father was a painter who specialised in naturalistic depictions of birds and game. For most of his life Ruiz was a professor of art at the School of Crafts and a curator of a local museum.
Picasso showed a passion and a skill for drawing from an early age, his first words were “piz, piz”, a shortening of lápiz, the Spanish word for ‘pencil’. From the age of seven, Picasso received formal artistic training from his father. On one occasion the father found his son painting over his unfinished sketch of a pigeon. Observing the precision of his son’s technique, Ruiz felt that the thirteen-year-old Picasso had surpassed him, and vowed to give up painting.
The family moved to Barcelona In 1895 after Picasso’s seven-year old sister’s death. Picasso thrived in the city, regarding it as his true home. When Picasso was 13 his father persuaded the academy to allow his son to take an entrance exam for the advanced class. This process often took students a month, but Picasso completed it in a week, and the impressed jury admitted Picasso.
Picasso’s father and uncle decided to send the young artist to Madrid’s Royal Academy of San Fernando, the country's foremost art school. Picasso, age 16, set off for the first time on his own, but he disliked formal instruction and stopped attending classes soon after enrolment. Madrid, however, held many other attractions: the Prado housed many venerable paintings, Picasso especially admired the works of El Greco; the elongated limbs, arresting colors, and mystical visages, are echoed in Picasso’s œuvre.
Picasso made his first trip to Paris in 1900, then the art capital of Europe. There, he met the journalist and poet Max Jacob, who helped Picasso learn the French language and literature. They shared an apartment; Max slept at night while Picasso slept during the day and worked at night. These were times of severe poverty, cold, and desperation. Much of his work was burned to keep the small room warm!
Picasso’s work is often categorized into periods. While the names of many of his later periods are debated, the most commonly accepted periods in his work are the Blue Period (1901–1904), the Rose Period (1905–1907), the African-influenced Period (1908–1909), Analytic Cubism (1909–1912), and Synthetic Cubism (1912–1919).
Pablo Picasso died on 8 April 1973 in Mougins, France, while he and his wife Jacqueline entertained friends for dinner. His final words were “Drink to me, drink to my health, you know I can’t drink any more